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INM upbeat about future prospects for Ireland on the world stage

There is light at the end of what has been a very, very long tunnel in Ireland, Independent News and Media's (INM) chief executive Gavin O'Reilly said in the INM's annual report, which was published last night.

"The election of a new Government, with a clear mandate and record majority, has brought a sense of renewed purpose and confidence to our international negotiations and the alacrity with which they have taken to repositioning Ireland on the world stage as not only 'open for business' but as the best place in Europe to do business has been impressive," he said.

In his chief executive's address, Mr O'Reilly said Ireland's problem was not a domestic squabble about the banks but one that required some "collective responsibility across Europe", instead of pitting Irish against Germans, Greeks against French and Portuguese against Finns.

"It's all a million miles away from the aspirations, and spirit, of the Treaty of Rome," he added.

Clear targets

On the company's finances, Mr O'Reilly said management had set itself very clear targets for 2010. Despite the challenging economic conditions, they had achieved and exceeded their objectives.

These included: the deleveraging and reduction of the net debt to EBITDA ratio, continuing to de-risk operations, positioning the newspapers and digital operations for an upturn, and stringent cost control.

The newspaper group's annual report also showed that the total non-executive pay was €585,000 in 2010, down from €753,000 the previous year. Total executive directors' pay was €1.68m in 2010, down from €5.3m the previous year.

Mr O'Reilly's salary was fixed at €750,000 per year for 2010 and will be kept at the same level for 2011.

There is no extra pay for his role as chairman of APN News & Media (Australia), which is 31.6pc owned by INM.

Chairman Brian Hillary was paid €178,000. Executive directors agreed to leave their salaries for 2011 unchanged, in the light of the ongoing economic crisis.

Irish Independent