New INM owners to transfer its Dublin printing operation to Newry
THE new owners of Independent News and Media (INM), which publishes the Belfast Telegraph and Irish Independent newspaper are to close the company's printing press in Dublin and relocate much of the work to Newry.
Belgium-based Mediahuis announced its €145.6m (£125m) move in March to acquire Ireland's largest newspaper group in April.
The group's operations in the north include the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life, based at the Clarendon Dock in Belfast Harbour. It also includes a printing press operation at the Carnbane Industrial Estate in Newry.
There had initially been some concern within the company that the new owners could sell off the printing operation.
But instead, Mediahuis will shut its extensive printing facility in Citywest, Dublin early next year, with the loss of 84 jobs.
It's understood that staff were informed on Wednesday by INM bosses that the company was planning to replace all printing shifts into one consolidated night-time shift.
But the high level of interest in voluntary redundancy prompted the company to shut the whole plant.
“With this in mind and coupled with the continued decline in circulation and advertising revenues we have decided with regret that we should instead move to a controlled closure of the Citywest printing plant in early 2020,” staff were told.
Printing of the Irish Independent and INM's portfolio of regional newspaper titles, will be printed in future in Newry.
Some other printing duties will go to smaller contracts with third-party printers.
The Citywest printing facility was opened along the N7 dual carriageway in 2000, with its glass façade offering motorists a glimpse of the printing operation.
INM heavily invested in the new Newry printing facility in 2007 in a move backed by Invest NI, which owns the industrial estate.
The entire northern printing operation was eventually transferred to Newry when printing ceased at the company's flagship headquarters on Royal Avenue. The rest of the company vacated the building in 2016.
INM's latest annual report described a decline in the company's commercial printing revenue, falling from €5.8 (£4.9m) in 2017 to €5.4m (£4.6m) in 2018. Company revenue as a whole was down by €4m (£3.4m) last year to €191m (£162.6m).