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Eleven jobs face axe as The Kingdom prepares to publish its last edition

A KERRY-based newspaper is to close next week with the loss of 11 jobs.

The Killarney-based 'The Kingdom' newspaper will publish its last issue on Tuesday. The paper was owned by Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) since 2000, which also owns the 'Irish Examiner' and 'The Sunday Business Post'.

Staff were briefed on the closure yesterday morning.

TCH chief executive Tom Murphy said the decision to close 'The Kingdom' was regrettable but was taken as a result of the severe economic downturn and its effect on the paper's advertising revenues and circulation volumes. The paper claims a weekly circulation of just over 15,000 and has been up against 'The Kerryman' and 'Kerry's Eye' newspapers.

"We had a strong business . . . with a fantastic staff and the . . . situation is sad indeed," he said.

The editor and general manager of 'The Kingdom', John O'Mahony, paid tribute "to the hard work and commitment of the staff".

"'The Kingdom' is immensely proud of the role it has played offering award-winning news and sports coverage to the people of Kerry since TCH acquired the title in 2000," he said.

The newspaper was founded in the 1920s by the MacMonagle family and ceased publication for some years before it was re-established in the 1980s.

The closure will be seen as another blow to TCH. The company proposed further wage cuts at the 'Irish Examiner' last September as well as cutting the pension by 50pc, while staff at 'The Sunday Business Post' have also taken wage cuts.

Last month the company sold the 'Sligo Weekender' for what is believed to have been a nominal fee while the 'Newry Democrat' was sold to Alpha Newspapers in September.

TCH reported a loss after tax of more than €38m in 2009 compared to less than €2.5m a year earlier on the back of re-organisation costs and turnover, which fell by a fifth.

Mr Murphy said he expected the company to post a loss for 2010.

This is the second newspaper to close this year, following the 'Irish Daily Star Sunday', which ceased publication last week.

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