'Irish Daily Star Sunday' to close


The Irish Daily Star Sunday  is to cease publication with the loss of 17 jobs.

The newspaper, which was more commonly known as Star Sunday has been published since 2003. It is the Sunday edition of the Irish Daily Star.

Star Sunday has never recorded a profit and last year it reported losses of over €1 million.

The title is owned by Independent Star Ltd, a joint venture between Independent News & Media and Richard Desmond's UK-based Express Newspapers group.

The managing director of Independent Star Ltd, Paul Cooke, said the paper was projected to lose more money in the current year.

He said the decision to cease publication would have no impact on the Irish Daily Star, which is expected to report 2010 profits of almost €6 million shortly.

Star Sunday has a readership of 217,000, with two-thirds of them in the 15 to 44 age group.

Mr Cooke said the decision to close the Sunday paper was taken due to a combination of the current severe economic downturn and continued below-cost-selling by UK based Sunday titles.

“This has been a difficult decision and I want to pay tribute to the professionalism and hard work of all the staff of Irish Daily Star Sunday," he said. "I also want to acknowledge and thank the advertising and marketing industry in Ireland for their support for the paper.

"Unfortunately the deterioration in market conditions particularly over the last two years has left the company with no option but to cease publication of the Sunday paper," he added.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) expressed surprise and disappointment at the closure of the newspaper and said it was seeking talks with management.

The union said news of the closure had come "as bolt out of the blue" to staff and there had been no prior consultation.

"This employer has in the past refused to negotiate with trade unions but we hope that the rights of workers facing redundancy to be represented collectively will be respected. We would like the opportunity to discuss alternatives to redundancy including redeployment," said NUJ Irish organiser Nicola Coleman

"In a crowded Sunday newspaper market, The Irish Daily Star Sunday has made a distinctive impact and the contribution of journalists on the title has been considerable," she added.