Belfast Telegraph

Job losses at UTV Ireland 'unavoidable' as TV3 merger completed

By Claire Williamson

Redundancies will be "unavoidable" among 61 staff at UTV Ireland after its merger with TV3 was completed, the company said.

UTV Ireland was part of the TV assets sold by UTV in Belfast to ITV earlier this year in a £100m deal.

But ITV has sold the channel on to Virgin Media, part of US giant Liberty Global, for €10m.

Virgin Media already owns commercial TV channel TV3 in the Republic - and the deal to buy UTV Ireland now gives it access to top-rating ITV programmes.

TV3 on Thursday announced a restructuring programme to consolidate the two businesses into one.

UTV Ireland currently employs 61 permanent staff.

TV3 announced it has 40 open vacancies, many of which it is hoped will be filled by current UTV Ireland staff.

It said: "The proposed changes may result in unavoidable redundancies in UTV Ireland but where possible, staff will be offered redeployment opportunities within TV3."

The company will enter into a 30 day consultation period with effect from December 5 and it is expected that the various steps associated with this plan will be substantially completed by January 2017. 

As part of this consolidation, the UTV Ireland operation currently based in Macken House will move to TV3’s headquarters in Ballymount.

The UTV Ireland channel will rebrand over the coming weeks and will join TV3’s existing group of channels, TV3 and 3e.

Pat Kiely, Managing Director of TV3, said: “Today’s announcement strengthens independent television broadcasting in Ireland by bringing together great channels and great content under the one roof. The combined TV3 Group business is now better equipped to compete against significant local and international broadcasters.

"We can now also play an increasingly bigger role in the development of Irish originated production and broadcasting. I am confident that our new three channel structure will drive the future potential and long term growth of the business.”

Belfast Telegraph

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