Times proposes closure of Ireland edition with potential loss of almost 20 jobs - Press Gazette

Times proposes closure of Ireland edition with potential loss of almost 20 jobs

The Times has proposed the closure of its Ireland edition in print, with almost 20 jobs expected to be affected.

News UK and Ireland is proposing a return to selling the international print edition in Ireland instead of the Irish edition which is currently produced by a team of journalists in Dublin.

The Ireland edition of the Sunday Times would not be affected by the changes.

According to the National Union of Journalists, 19 jobs are affected, a mixture of casual contracts and staff roles.

The Irish Times and RTE both reported that just three out of some 20 staff will be retained under the changes, and that those positions will need to be reapplied for.

A spokesperson for The Times Ireland edition told Press Gazette:We have begun a consultation process with staff at The Times Ireland edition.

“We are proposing a return to selling the international edition in print but no final decisions have been made and The Sunday Times in Ireland is unaffected.

“Our fast-growing international digital edition, which is now sold in more than 150 countries, will be the ongoing focus of our Irish news operation.”

The Times launched an Irish edition in tablet-only format for the first time in 2015, with 30 journalists.

Editor Richard Oakley then described the launch of the online edition as a “positive milestone for Irish journalism”, adding that some of Ireland’s “most renowned” journalists had been hired.

The newspaper launched in print two years later.

Seamus Dooley, the NUJ’s Irish secretary, said:  “The company does not recognise unions in Ireland but we have been contacted by NUJ members who work for the title and they are shocked by the redundancy terms being imposed.

“The Times Ireland has been responsible for ground breaking journalism and the miserly package shows no regard for the pioneering work carried out by so many fine journalists.”

The NUJ said the company is offering the legal minimum package of two weeks’ money per year of service.

Times Ireland columnist Caroline O’Donoghue tweeted that the newspaper had “effectively closed meaning a lot of brilliant people have been made redundant” and that her column will end in one month.

She added that the newspaper published “consistently incredible coverage around housing, healthcare, women’s rights, church abuse” and more.

Sunday Times journalist John Mooney tweeted: “My colleagues in the Times Ireland were made redundant today. They broke story after story but not enough people would pay €5 a month to read their work.

“People think journalism costs nothing. If you want to support journalism, you have to pay for it.”

Newsbrands Ireland, the country’s representative body for national print and online titles, said: “The news concerning the Times Ireland edition is so sad and such a shame considering the consistently excellent stories produced by Richard Oakley and his team.”