New launch date for Daily Ireland

The new Northern Ireland nationalist newspaper Daily Ireland, from the Andersonstown News Group, now plans to launch on 1 February, having failed to meet its original November start date, writes Des Cryan .

ANG had to abandon its plans to call the paper Ireland Today following a legal battle with Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

Ulster Unionist MP, Lady Sylvia Harmon, last month called for a review of the compatibility for public funding for ANG with EU law on state aids and domestic legislation.

The West Belfast newspaper group, headed by former Sinn Fein councillor Mairtin O’Muilleoir, has an annual turnover of approximately £4m.

The question has also been raised whether the funding it has obtained distorts competition in the Northern Ireland newspaper market. The management of the nationalist Irish News is reportedly deeply unhappy about the recent funding to ANG and is seeking legal advice also on the issue of its compatibility with EU law.

O’Muilleoir has claimed that the objections being made to the ANG funding are politically motivated, saying the Irish News and the Belfast Telegraph had received state funding in the Eighties.

Maria McCourt, a journalist with ANG, has been appointed as editor and a staff of 40 is envisaged for the newspaper, which has a target circulation of 22,000.

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