Statement from FF Communications spokesperson Jack Chambers on supports for newspaper industry

01 April 2020 . Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Jack Chambers has welcomed news that An Post-delivery of local newspapers plans to be up and running on Friday.

An Post announced plans to begin the delivery of newspapers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in a bid to help the local newspaper industry.

Deputy Chambers said: “I believe that a forum should be established through the BAI, and if necessary, with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to provide a coordinated response to this crisis in public service journalism.

“The situation in print media is particularly serious. Several regional papers have already announced layoffs or have closed their doors. It is extremely welcome that An Post has stepped up at this extremely difficult time.

“There are a number of issues around supply chain, availability in stores, free movement of journalists and the status of journalism as an essential service in light of further restrictions which this group should move urgently to consider and to develop a response to.

“In light of the very welcome announcement by An Post regarding the delivery of newspapers, consideration should be given to the provision of supports to local media in the short term to allow them to develop subscription models to support these deliveries. This may have the knock-on benefit of providing a longer-term revenue stream as we enter the recovery phase also.

“Requests should be made for additional advertisement for COVID-19 related public information to be published in newspapers. Further, departmental budgets for announcements which will not now go ahead should be redirected to support newspapers at this time,” concluded Deputy Chambers.