THERE are fears of further job losses following the sale of the 'Irish Examiner' and other newspapers in the Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) group.
The 'Examiner' and the 'Evening Echo' plus several regional papers and radio stations in the group were bought by a new company, Landmark Media Investments Ltd, controlled by newspaper executive Tom Crosbie and backed by his father, Ted, a former director of TCH.
They bought the assets from AIB-appointed receiver Kieran Wallace of KPMG. That deal had been lined up in advance in a technique known as a pre-pack restructuring sale.
Twelve printing staff in Cork and Dublin have already lost their jobs as a result of the deal.
Last night the 'Irish Examiner' was printed by the company that owns the 'Irish Times' in what is to be an ongoing contract.
A further 76 jobs at the 'Sunday Business Post' are under threat. It will apply for examinership at the High Court today.
If an interim examiner is appointed, he will have 100 days to find a buyer. If the court rejects the application for an examinership, the company will go into liquidation.
The Irish Independent has learned that further job losses are expected at some of the newspapers and radio stations bought by Landmark Media.
These will include cuts among some of the 550 staff whose jobs transferred to the new owners after the appointment of the receiver. The new owners will discuss potential job losses with staff, and are planning that further cuts will be done on a voluntary basis, according to a source close to the deal.
One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said staff at the 'Irish Examiner' had "been expecting something like this" and were happy their jobs had been saved.
"It's positive. We see this as a fresh start. It's the exact same terms and conditions as before. It's business as normal," the worker said.
"We hope that our colleagues in the 'Sunday Business Post' will come through the process."
Cork County Mayor Barbara Murray said the news that the 'Irish Examiner' had gone into receivership was "a sign of the times".
"The 'Examiner' has been around forever. It's an institution here and I've no doubt that they will find a way of surviving," said the Fine Gael councillor.
"I don't think it's going to disappear any time soon."
Fianna Fail councillor Terry Shannon said it was welcome news that most of the jobs were to be saved.
AIB said it had appointed the receiver at the request of the company itself. The bank is at the front of the queue to be repaid by the receiver from the cash he gets from the sale.
At the same time, AIB said it is providing financing for the new company with fresh "refinancing" loans.