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Irish Press pair may lose another title

MARTIN FITZPATRICK EAMON de Valera and Vincent Jennings were busy last week lobbying to save a threatened Irish publishing institution.

The pair, who were famously at the centre of the Irish Press collapse 10 years ago, are now trying to protect Thom's Street Directories, which they own and whose future is imperilled by a hitherto unspotted change on the electoral register.

Thom's Directory is one of the oldest continuing publications in Dublin. It has been a feature of Irish publishing life for the past 150 years and is still used extensively by libraries, banks, credit agencies, retailers and the distribution sector. Author James Joyce famously made extensive use of the directory when he was writing Ulysses.

Now, however, its future has been put in doubt by an apparently modest change inserted in the forms that are used to compile the electoral register by Minister Martin Cullen two years ago. A seemingly innocent box was added to the form which invited objectors to tick if they didn't want information they provided being used by others.

Because many ticked the box, only an edited version of the electoral register is now available to Thom's for this year's publication.

This, believes Dr De Valera, raises serious concerns about the accurate updating of the publication. He and his chairman, Vincent Jennings, have been lobbying to have the legislation changed.

Thom's Publications - lost about ?50,000 in 2003 according to figures submitted to the Companies Office.

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