More than 120 Irish news agents have placed orders for a total of 2,000 copies of this week's edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
But distributors are uncertain about how many, if any, of these orders can be fulfilled.
The Charlie Hebdo print run was increased to 3 million from a usual 60,000 this week but French retailers still sold out within minutes of it going on sale on Wednesday. A further 2 million copies were later printed.
The cover of this week’s edition features a cartoon drawing of the Muslim prophet Muhammad along with the words ‘All is forgiven’ in French. It comes as a response to the murder of members of the magazine’s editorial staff by Islamic fundamentalists earlier this month.
Readers outside of France have struggled to get a copy of the magazine, with just 100 arriving into the United Kingdom through Menzies Distribution.
A spokesman for the distributor’s sister company in Ireland said 122 retailers here have placed orders for the magazine but it remains to be seen whether any copies will even arrive into the country.
“We have orders but even if we receive copies we don’t know if it will be sufficient,” he said. If copies do arrive from France they will be allocated proportionately according retailers’ orders but the matter remains “completely up in the air”, the spokesman said.
One newsagent that won’t be carrying the magazine is Eason, who earlier this week dismissed media suggestions that it would be stocking Charlie Hebdo. “Eason has never stocked the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and has no plans to in the future,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Irish Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association said it had expected retailers to receive copies of the magazine on Friday but the organisation’s chief executive Vincent Jennings said the shipment failed to arrive.
Mr Jennings said there was nothing suspicious about the delay. “It’s not unusual that they didn’t arrive, there are times when magazines just don’t come in. There was nothing sinister about it”.
Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said authorities here have no reason to believe Ireland is at risk from a terrorist attack.
Speaking on RTÉ radio, Ms Fitzgerald said new legislation going through the Oireachtas would bolster the ability of the Garda to monitor and combat terroritst activity.
But she said there was no specific reason for people to be concerned at the moment. “We have no specific intelligence in relation to a particular threat,” she said.