The loss-making local newspaper co-founded and today owned by leading aircraft leasing executive and Ennis man, Dómhnal Slattery, The Clare People has published its final print edition.
Staff were informed at the paper’s offices in Ennis at mid-day today that today’s print edition would be the paper’s final one.
The announcement today will result in the loss of 16 jobs including 10 editorial jobs made up of the paper’s editor, five journalists, three sub-editors and one photographer.
In a statement released on social media shortly after staff were informed, the Clare People stated: “It is with deep sadness and regret that the owners and staff of The Clare People announce that the newspaper has printed its last edition.”
The statement stated that since June 2005 “we have strived to deliver a quality product to the people of Clare every single Tuesday morning without fail”.
It stated: “This we have done in the midst of severe economic and technological headwinds….Unfortunately our newspaper cannot continue to sustain the losses we have incurred in delivering a quality product to the people of Clare on a weekly basis in the face of consistently declining circulation and advertising revenues.”
The newspaper, which competed with the long established The Clare Champion, has faced increased competition in the last two years with the establishment of a local free newspaper, The Clare Echo.
The Clare People statement went on to state: “As a consequence of the rapid impact of the Internet and free online platforms, the marketplace for quality local newspapers has changed fundamentally.”
It added: “This is a sad day for staff and all who have been part of The Clare People journey. We are immensely proud of the contribution of all our journalists, photographers, sales and marketing teams, admin and office staff have made to our county, our culture and our people for so long.”
It continued: "We would like to thank our loyal readers and all those who have supported us for the past 14 years. We deeply appreciated that support."
The most recent accounts for the paper’s firm, Clare College News Ltd show that at the end of December 2017, the firm's accumulated losses had increased to €1.5 million.
The company recorded a loss of €135,440 in 2017 and this was double the loss of €66,939 recorded in 2016. Staff costs in 2017 totalled €463,391.
The job losses at the Clare People follow a difficult number of months in the Irish print media industry with the Times Ireland ceasing its print edition and the Irish Daily Mail reducing its workforce by 35.
The difficulties experienced by The Clare People in recent years is in sharp contrast to the exponential growth of Avolon under Mr Slattery’s leadership.
Today, Avolon is the world’s third largest aircraft lessor, owned and managed a fleet of 530 aircraft by the end of the second quarter of this year and had total orders and commitments for 393 new technology aircraft.
The value of the firm’s assets stand at $28.3bn while it recorded profits of $185m in its most recent quarter.