Wednesday 16 January 2019

Mail's Tribune cover 'Dancing on someone's grave,' says FG

THE FAKE Sunday Tribune cover carried by a rival paper was a stunt akin to "dancing on someone's grave", Fine Gael spokesman on communications Simon Coveney has said.

The Irish Mail on Sunday has come under strong criticism after its marketing ploy spectacularly bombed.

The paper carried a cover bearing the Sunday Tribune title on a number of its editions.

The National Consumer Agency has taken up the issue and representatives will speak to management at the Irish Mail on Sunday later today.

And Fine Gael spokesperson for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Simon Coveney said that it was a bad decision to print the fake paper when jobs were on the line.

"They might have meant it in a tongue-in-cheek manner -- but it was in poor taste," he said.

"The Irish people do expect some standards from the media.

"It's like dancing on someone's grave."

"The idea that the Tribune is in financial difficulties and is unable to produce a paper means that it is in a very vulnerable position," the FG TD outlined.

"The Irish Mail on Sunday has taken advantage of that.

"For the people involved in the Tribune, it crossed a line of decency."

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Sunday Tribune editor Noirin Hegarty have strongly criticised the publication of 25,000 copies of a special edition.

"The Mail On Sunday has shown in this act that it will leave no stone unturned in the race to the bottom," Ms Hegarty said.

"We are talking about 43 jobs in Ireland here, not extra remuneration for Associated Newspapers back in the UK."

The Irish secretary of the NUJ, Seamus Dooley, described the publication which masqueraded as the Tribune by reproducing its masthead as "crass and cynical" and represented a "new low in Irish journalism".

The editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday, Sebastian Hamilton said that the publication was a "marketing exercise" aimed at protecting jobs.

"We want to offer Tribune readers a genuine alternative," he said.

"We want to protect those 161 Irish jobs by persuading as many Tribune readers as possible to keep buying newspapers."

Mr Dooley said that this defence was "disingenuous" and was there should be "respect for basic standards of decency".

A receiver was appointed to the Sunday Tribune last week and the paper is currently in the process of seeking a buyer, although the paper will not be published while that process is in place.

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