Johnston Press has exited the Irish newspaper market with the sale of its 14 Ireland titles, including the Limerick Leader and Donegal Democrat, for £7.2m.
The National Union of Journalists has welcomed the sale to Iconic Newspapers, a company run by the British advertising executive Malcolm Denmark.
NUJ president Barry McCall said the change in ownership "will free the Irish regional titles from debt and end a period of uncertainty for staff, readers and advertised in some of the most significant titles in the country".
Union general secretary Michelle Stanistreet will write to the new owner seeking a meeting "to discuss plans for the future development of the titles".
She added: "This has been a very stressful time for our members and today’s announcement will be welcome because of the stated commitment of the new owner to the titles."
NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley said: "These are established titles which have placed a pivotal role on the Irish media landscape. Local communities across Ireland value their local newspapers and it is to be hoped that the new owner will provide editorial investment and leadership at this critical time.
"The NUJ has been extremely critical of the way in which Johnston Press has managed their titles, North and South and we believe that with proper investment these newspapers can be secured."
The sale means Johnston Press no longer has any newspapers in Ireland – although it will continue to provide printing facilities to the new owner for a certain period.
Johnston Press still owns papers in Northern Ireland including The Newsletter and Derry Journal.
Johnston chief executive Ashley Highfield said: "The disposal of our trade and assets in the Republic of Ireland will increase our ability to focus on the growth of our business in the United Kingdom and in particular our digital initiatives, in line with our stated strategy. We believe that it is in the group’s best interests to dedicate our resources to these opportunities.
"I would like to thank the staff of our Irish business for their loyalty and dedication over the years and we wish them well for a successful future.”