IRISH billionaire and media magnate Denis O’Brien has further consolidated his grip on the Irish media after purchasing a leading publication, the Ballyhibbert Parish Newsletter, for €4 million.
The newsletter’s editorial direction will remain unchanged for the 2-page parish publication according to inside sources, and backers of a free and balanced press had their fears allayed after a sneak peak of the next edition was revealed.
“We have the usual, marriage, birth and death announcements, notice of tea and cakes after mass on Sunday and 64-page pullout on Denis O’Brien’s immense contribution to mankind, just the usual stuff. Oh, and Biddy Mulcahy across the way is celebrating her 95th birthday, can you believe it,” explained the newly installed parish newsletter editor, Cormac Tallon, who will edit the publication from a London office.
The €4 million takeover has joined other recent purchases by Independent News and Media’s (INM) purchase of the Celtic Media Group, which includes the Anglo-Celt in Cavan, the Meath Chronicle and the Connaught Telegraph titles.
O’Brien’s new acquisitions have prompted the National Union of Journalists to call on the government to investigate if this purchase damages the diversity of ownership in media in Ireland. The government has yet to issue an official shrug of the shoulders.
“I think people over think these things, it’s still the same old newsletter, and I enjoyed the bit of the parish lotto jackpot and how Maltese tax residents should be given a break,” 84-year-old parish newsletter reader, Francis Bolland shared with WWN.
WWN has learned that the newsletter’s former editor Fr. Peter Nunn has left the publication, however, it is not believed to be related to his belief that ‘greed and lust for power are horrible vices’.