Clarke takes the reins at Ireland on Sunday

Martin Clarke

 Martin Clarke, former editor of the Daily Record, has been put in charge of Associated Newspapers’ latest acquisition, Ireland on Sunday.

Associated Newspapers bought Ireland on Sunday from Scottish Radio Holdings for £7.4m.

Around 40 journalists work for the Ireland on Sunday. Clarke, who is also a former editor of the Scottish Daily Mail and The Scotsman, has been appointed editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers in Ireland.

Clarke said: "Ireland on Sunday possesses a staff of considerable talent who will relish the opportunity of joining a company which has an outstanding record of investing in its titles."

The announcement comes after years of on-off discussions between Associated Newspapers and the owners of Ireland on Sunday.

Press Gazette reported on talks between the pair as far back as 1998 about launching a mid-market tabloid in the Irish market.

It fulfills a long-held ambition by the group to grab a foothold in the Irish media market. "The Irish market has intrigued us for a long time," said Peter Williams, finance director at Daily Mail and General Trust.

Clarke told Press Gazette he would be looking to bolster the 40-odd staff that work on the newspaper. "We can already see there are gaps [in the news coverage], and we need to fill them."

He said rumours of Associated Newspapers launching a daily mid-market newspapert for Ireland were premature.

"Ireland on Sunday is a daunting undertaking, but once we’ve got it on the road and made a success of it, we may look at other opportunities in Ireland. But it is way too early to look ahead."

Williams said Ireland on Sunday would make use of some of the MoS’s editorial content, particularly features and in its supplements. But he added that the paper would not become simply an Irish version of the MoS. "It is a different market and it needs to remain an Irish title."

Clarke said: "We consider Ireland on Sunday to be an exciting young title of enormous potential which has already carved itself an important niche."

The title was launched onto a sceptical Irish market back in 1997.

Although many questioned the wisdom of a new Irish Sunday paper, it managed to attract a healthy readership. SRH had bought the title for £6m in June last year.

The group now plans to concentrate its efforts on its local weekly titles.

 

By Martin McNamara

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