The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) says it will challenge the planned sale of Independent News & Media’s stake in the Irish Daily Star newspaper to co-owner Reach.
The sale, which would make Reach the sole owner of the newspaper, was announced last week and is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and, under special rules for media, by the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin.
UK based Reach publishes newspapers including the Mirror and Express titles as well as Britain’s Daily Star and already hold a 50pc in the Irish paper.
INM, which publishes the Irish Independent, Sunday World and The Herald among other titles is Ireland's biggest newspaper group.
NUJ assistant general secretary Séamus Dooley said he believes the acquisition at a time when the UK group is making redundancies for financial reasons is contradictory.
“Redundancies are being proposed across the UK and in Ireland - North and South. If they (Reach) are in financial difficulty how can they spend money on the Irish Daily Star? If they are not in financial difficulty the redundancy process now underway is entirely avoidable?" he said.
He said Reach has a dominant position in the Irish market amongst so called ‘red top’ tabloid newspaper.
The trade union says it will challenge the proposed sale under Irish media merger procedures.
In 2016 the NUJ objected to a planned takeover by INM of the Celtic Media Group of regional newspapers on competition grounds. That deal eventually fell by the way side, but only after a long and costly competition process.