'Irish Daily Star' editor resigns over topless photos


The editor of the Irish Daily Star newspaper, Michael O’Kane, has resigned in the wake of the controversial publication of topless photographs of duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

This move appears to have eased the threat by the newspaper’s UK-based co-owner, Richard Desmond, to close the newspaper after publication of the images last September.

In a statement over the weekend, Independent News Media (INM) said Mr O’Kane had decided to resign as editor, effective immediately.

“As a result of the publication on 15 September 2012, issues arose with the shareholders of Independent Star Limited . . . Having considered those issues in tandem with Mr O’Kane, it is Mr O’Kane’s decision to resign as editor of the Irish Daily Star, effective immediately.”

It said Mr O’Kane “acted at all times in a highly professional and appropriate manner and in the best interests of the Irish Daily Star and followed all editorial policies and guidelines”.

A spokesman said the Irish Daily Star’s managing director, Ger Colleran, remains in place, although the shareholders’ investigation has yet to conclude. Along with Mr O’Kane, he had defended the decision to publish the photos.

Mr O’Kane was suspended from his position last September after the publication of the photographs pending an investigation by the newspaper’s joint shareholders.

Despite threats of closure, there has been no change to the status of the 25-year-old joint venture on the back of Mr O’Kane’s resignation.

Mr Desmond controls the UK media group Northern Shell, which jointly owns the Irish Daily Star with INM.

Up to 120 staff employed directly or indirectly by the Irish tabloid had faced an uncertain future following Mr Desmond’s pledge to close the newspaper.

INM reacted at the time by saying Mr Desmond’s call to close the paper was “disproportionate to a poor editorial decision” that was made without reference to the shareholders.