NI wins legal bid to block Ireland Today paper

Proposed nationalist cross-border paper Ireland Today will have to come up with a new name after a successful legal challenge from News International.

The Andersonstown News Group agreed at the High Court in Dublin not to publish a paper under the names Ireland Today or Today which News International trademarked after it bought the newspaper Today in 1986.

Andersonstown News managing editor and publisher Mairtin O’Muilleoir said: “We are getting a new name as we speak and hopefully it will be in place by 7 July. We are going to be producing a newspaper.

“We are not stupid and in this case our advice was that we would have to hand over the name so we did that. It’s very unfortunate that a British firm can come in and sign up the name Ireland Today.”

The proposed paper is scheduled for launch at the end of the year and is planned to have around 45 staff, 25 of which would be journalists.

According to O’Muilleoir, it will need daily sales of 20,000 and advertising revenue of £1m a year to be viable.

He is currently raising capital for the project and said: “The Irish Mirror lost £5m before breaking even, we are dealing with those sorts of figures.”

The proposed paper would concentrate on covering the 12 northern Irish counties (only six of which are in Northern Ireland) and it would be based in Belfast and across the border in Monaghan.

News International said in a statement: “News International is pleased with the outcome of the hearing in Dublin.

“The permanent injunction we have won removes the threat of a product being launched in direct contravention of our registered trademark rights.

“News International would like to clarify that our sole aim in this matter has been to protect our trademark.

“It has never been our intention or desire to prevent the launch of the new paper, nor do we hold any views o n its content, political stance or positioning.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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