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Sunday newspaper to close with loss of 17 jobs

By STAFF REPORTER bustel@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

THE 'IRISH Daily Star Sunday' is to cease publication with the loss of 17 jobs.

The newspaper, a joint venture between Independent News -amp; Media and Britain's Express Newspapers Group, opened in 2003 and will publish its last issue this Sunday.

Last year it recorded a loss of more than €1m (£841,400) with higher losses slated for this year.

Paul Cooke, managing director of the paper's parent company, Independent Star Limited, said the title had been squeezed by the economic downturn and continued below-cost selling by UK-based papers.

The daily paper the 'Irish Daily Star' is unaffected by the closure.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it was "surprised" at the announcement and would be seeking talks with management to discuss the closure.

The NUJ's Irish organiser, Nicola Coleman, said: "In a crowded Sunday newspaper market, the 'Irish Daily Star Sunday' has made a distinctive impact and the contribution of journalists on the title has been considerable."

Meanwhile, the future of a regional newspaper business was in doubt last night after losses widened and the company's auditors could only give a qualified opinion on the accounts.

River Newspapers, whose titles include the 'Letterkenny Post' and 'Donegal Post', reported a retained loss for 2009 of €5.09m (£4.3m) compared to €3.3m (3.2.8m) in 2008.