Up to 40 editorial jobs to go in Irish Times cutbacks

Irish Times: agreed plan with NUJ

Journalists at The Irish Times have been told that up to 40 editorial posts will have to be "discontinued" as part of the major restructuring plan agreed between management and unions.

An NUJ spokesman said all redundancies would have to be voluntary and that redeployment would have to await previously arranged consultations with the union.

After the paper’s management had announced last November that the paper faced a loss this year of l18m (£11.1m), making 250 job cuts necessary, negotiations have resulted in 180 employees either leaving or seeking redundancy.

Irish Times editor Conor Brady assured the NUJ that changes to the content would be negligible but announced that five regional correspondents in Ireland would be withdrawn by the end of August.

The newspaper’s Beijing office will be closed and the paper will have only one full-time correspondent in the US.

Staffing levels at the paper’s offices in Belfast and London will be reduced. The bureau in Brussels is being retained but the paper’s operations in Paris and Berlin are being reviewed.

Brady said The Irish Times was moving to a phase in which it would be produced by "fewer journalists".

But he emphasised that he had no concerns about their capacity to maintain The Irish Times as "Ireland’s finest newspaper".

He also said that the newspaper would produce one edition nightly instead of two as at present. A new l76m (£47m) printing press located on the outskirts of Dublin is due to start up this month and will result in better print quality and distribution.

lIrish Times columnist John Waters has been awarded l84,000 (£52,000) damages by a High Court jury in a libel action against The Sunday Times.

Waters sued the paper over the article in the Irish edition by Terry Keane published in June 2000 which he claimed meant he was a bad father to his daughter by the singer Sinead O’Connor.

The piece arose out of an address given by Waters to an audience in the Abbey Theatre.

The jury found that the gossip column piece conveyed that Waters was a bad father to his daughter Roisin and that he would unfairly withhold sympathy and help from her in later life. The court heard that Waters’ relationship with O’Connor had broken down and they had joint custody of their daughter.

After the verdict, The Sunday Times said it regretted that "personality issues" had clouded a case concerning "the fundamental right of journalists to comment robustly on matters of public interest".


by Des Cryan in Dublin

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