Thursday, January 22, 2009

Irish language newspaper closes

Lá Nua, the only Irish language daily newspaper, has closed with the loss of eight jobs.

The West Belfast-based Lá Nua (New Day) shut at the end of the year after more than two decades in production because funding was cut, said Mairtin Ó Muilleoir, its managing director.

Foras na Gaeilge, the Irish language development body who funded the paper, said there were not enough readers and sales figures were not high enough. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph Mr Ó Muilleoir said: "At a time when a Irish-speaking Gaeltacht Quarter is taking shape in west Belfast, the decision to stop publishing a daily newspaper is counterintuitive and unwise."

Lá Nua was launched in 1984 to capitalise on the growing numbers of people in Ireland speaking and learning Irish.

Foras na Gaeilge are now advertising for a company to publish a weekly newspaper and provide an online service. Grant aid will be worth up to 400,000 euros (£357,398) a year. Foras said the market for a daily newspaper was not big enough but did not rule out growth in the future.

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