Belfast Telegraph

Three newspapers in Taylor-owned group to close

By Clare Weir

Three newspapers owned by a Ulster Unionist peer Lord Kilclooney will close with the loss of up to 30 jobs.

Staff at the three papers based in the Irish midlands - the Roscommon Champion, Longford News and Athlone Voice - were told of the plans on Tuesday afternoon.

The publications are under the remit of the Alpha Newspaper Group, owned by the former Unionist MP John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney, and his family.

Alpha also owns a number of Northern Ireland newspapers including the Coleraine Chronicle and Ballymena Guardian and has part ownership of radio stations including Six FM and Seven FM.

The Athlone Voice was launched in 2005, while the Longford News was first published in 1936.

The Roscommon Champion dates from 1922.

The NUJ's Irish organiser Nicola Coleman said the union has protested at what it said was lack of consultation or examination of alternatives to closure.

"We are anxious to meet Mr Taylor to discuss redundancy terms," she said. "We also believe that it would be easier to sell the titles as a going concern."