Daily Ireland newspaper to close

Pro-Nationalist Belfast-based newspaper Daily Ireland is to close tomorrow (Friday).

The paper launched in January 2005 with a target circulation of
20,000 a day north and south. But in the last audited ABC figures, its total circulation was 10,080, some 8,736 were actively purchased.

Around 20 journalists are expected to be affected by the closure.

Daily Ireland was launched by the Andersonstown News Group which runs a series of weekly newspapers in Belfast.

Managing director Mairtin O Muilleoir blamed lack of British government advertising as a factor in the title’s closure.

He said: “Daily Ireland played a vital role in promoting the nationalist case at a

time when McCarthyism and anti-nationalist voices were in the ascendancy.

We are very proud of the achievements of the Daily Ireland team over the

past 20 months. We hope we have inspired others to take up where we have

left off and that this is more a time-out than an ending,"

He added: “When Daily Ireland launched on 1 February 2005, we had a realistic

expectation that we would receive Invest NI start-up assistance. This was refused. We also expected to receive government advertisements on the same

basis as the other local dailies.

"Instead, we were told we would have to

receive an ABC certificate of distribution – a stipulation which never

applied to any of the existing newspapers which were the beneficiaries for

many years of huge amounts of government ad money. Nevertheless, we

complied.

“However, when we duly received our first – and very encouraging –

ABC certificate in July 2005 the government then announced a review of its

ad spending which was to last nine months. During this crucial period in

Daily Ireland's development, we were the only local daily denied job

advertisements.

"When the review was completed it was announced that

government advertisements would be put out to tender for the first time

ever, but we were told we could not tender on the basis of our group

distribution figure.

“We have examined the implications of that decision and have concluded that it means it will be impossible for us to cover our costs going forward and so we have reluctantly decided to cease publishing from Friday. We will leave it to others to decide for themselves why the first-ever root-and-branch reform of the British government's multi-million annual advertising spend in the North coincided with the arrival of Daily Ireland on the market.”

O Muilleoir pointed out that of the £3 million invested in Daily Ireland – some £300,000 went to the British government in tax revenue.

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