Tuesday 20 February 2018

Process under way to assess INM takeover of Celtic Media - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A full process is under way to decide on the potential sale of the Celtic Media group to Independent News & Media (INM), Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is examining the deal.

But AAA-PBP TD Bríd Smith said the time frame for the Oireachtas Communications Committee to make a submission about the proposed deal was "extraordinarily tight".

The Celtic Media group, which employs about 100 staff, is made up of seven regional titles, including the 'Connaught Telegraph', 'Anglo-Celt' and 'Meath Chronicle'.

Ms Smith told the Dáil the committee wants to "quiz" representatives from INM, the National Union of Journalists and academics about what the merger would mean.

"Once upon a time in the 1940s the 'Skibbereen Eagle' said it would be keeping an eye on the Kremlin. We will have no Skibbereen Eagles left if this merger goes through," she said.

She said businessman Denis O'Brien, a major shareholder in INM, should be invited to the committee.

Mr Kenny said the committee was entitled to examine the merger.

"So while the time scale might be tight, I think the members of the committee are fully entitled to have their public engagement and public interaction with the bodies that you mentioned and anybody else as well in regard to this particular proposition," he said.

"But I think it should be clearly understood that there is a process here and that's under way. Submissions to the BAI have to be made in the next short period and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will make their view on that."

Communications Minister Denis Naughten will oversee the ruling.

Irish Independent

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