INM representatives face Dáil hearing over potential merger bid
Representatives of Independent News and Media will appear before an Oireachtas committee today to face questioning about the planned takeover of seven regional newspapers.
Some members of the Communications Committee have raised concerns in the Dáil about the merger of INM, which publishes this newspaper, and the Celtic Media Group.
The National Union of Journalists and a number of academics will also be asked to give their views on what the deal would mean for the plurality of Irish media.
The Celtic Media Group employs around 100 staff onwell-known titles such as the 'Connaught Telegraph', 'Anglo-Celt' and 'Meath Chronicle'.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is examining the takeover and based on the evidence collected today the committee will seek to make a submission ahead of a final decision.
Chairperson of the committee, Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, said the purpose of the hearing is to allow members "be more fully informed" about the potential merger.
In the Dáil last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there is a full process under way to assess the merger, with Communications Minister Denis Naughten monitoring developments closely.
He said he did not want to "pre-empt" the work of the BAI.
Bríd Smith, of Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit, complained the time frame for the committee to complete its analysis is "extraordinarily tight".