Sunday 17 December 2017

Proposed INM Celtic Media merger discussed in Dáil

Stock photo: Depositphotos
Stock photo: Depositphotos
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said there is a full process underway, headed up by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), regarding the potential sale of the Celtic Media group to Independent News & Media.

Mr Kenny made his comments in response to a query by a TD in the Dáil today.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is examining the deal but Brid Smith, of the People Before Profit/Anti-Austerity Alliance, complained that the time-frame for the Committee on Communications to make a submission about the proposed deal is “extraordinarily tight”.

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

Ms Smith told the Dail the committee wants to “quiz” representatives from INM, the National Union of Journalists and academics about what the merger would mean for plurality of media in the country. 

“Once upon a time in the 40s 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.

In response, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Committee was “perfectly entitled to engage about this particular application”.

“So while the timescale 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 added: “But I think it should be clearly understood that there is a process here and that’s underway. Submissions to the BAI have to made in the next short period and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will make their view on that.”

Mr Kenny said the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten will oversee the outcome of the BAI ruling.

“I don’t want to pre-empt what the recommendations or the view or the analysis of the BAI are,” he said.

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