On Friday, Independent News and Media announced that it is buying Celtic Media Group which owns seven regional newspaper titles.
They are the weeklies – The Anglo Celt in Cavan, the Meath Chronicle, the Westmeath Examiner, in Mullingar, the Westmeath Independent, in Athlone), the free Offaly Independent and the Connaught Telegraph.
In addition, the group owns the fortnightly, free south Meath newspaper Forum.
Further to this…
The Green Party writes:
The Green Party today called on Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten TD, to refer the proposed buyout of Celtic Media Group by Independent News Media to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The Party believes the takeover is in breach of the cross-media ownership regulations set out in the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014.
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said today: “The Minister needs to use the provisions of the 2014 Act to question and hopefully stop this merger.
There is a real threat to the public interest when one organisation ends up owning so many different media outlets. The legal mechanism to challenge this development has already been introduced. It is now up to the Minister to ensure those provisions are used.
“Irish print media are under real stress as advertising continues to divert to online platforms.
While we also want to ensure the survival of these historic titles, we cannot see a situation where so much of our print media is held by the same organisation who control so many national and local radio stations.
“The Minister and the BAI need to act fast to provide certainty about their approach. I will be raising the issue at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment this Thursday morning to get a clear understanding of the Ministers intentions.”