'Offaly Express' to close with loss of eight jobs in Tullamore


Scottish-listed media group Johnston Press is closing the Offaly Express newspaper in Tullamore and plans to introduce other cost-cutting measures at its Irish regional titles.

About eight staff will be affected by the Offaly closure, which is the latest rationalisation measure introduced by Johnston Press here. Staff were informed of the decision on Tuesday.

It is understood Johnston Press also plans to appoint joint editors for the Leitrim Observer and Longford Leader, and the Leinster Express and Leinster Leader.

This will involve the four editors applying for two positions, with the unsuccessful candidates being made redundant.

The National Union of Journalists yesterday began a Facebook petition to save the Offaly Express, which was set up in 1984. It said the decision by Johnston Press to close the title would result in redundancies and undermine “media diversity” in the midlands.

Latest accounts for Johnston Press Ireland Ltd show it made pretax losses of €3.9 million in 2010 and €5.3 million in 2009.

Its revenues in 2010 declined by 25 per cent to €23 million.

The 2010 results included redundancy costs of €1.9 million, which reflected the closure of a print press and restructuring of management in Ireland.

No comment was available from Johnston Press yesterday. Its other Irish titles include the Limerick Leader and the Kilkenny People.