Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man Newspapers set to close Douglas press

Isle of Man Newspapers are proposing to close its Peel Road press and move printing to the UK, with the loss of seven jobs and numerous casual posts.

Printing of the company's three newspapers will be done at Johnston Press' site in Dinnington, Sheffield, from March if plans are approved.

Currently the Examiner, the Manx Independent and the Courier are printed at Peel Road.

Editor Richard Butt denied the move was a cost cutting measure.

Mr Butt said: "It is to improve the quality of our publications.

"We have to respond to market demand for improved products, which can only give the company a more secure future."

'Too expensive'

The current press produces a maximum of 48 tabloid pages at a time meaning papers have to be printed in sections and put together by hand.

The Dinnington press in comparison is capable of printing 192 pages in full colour.

The newspaper group said it looked into the cost of buying a new press to keep printing on the Isle of Man but it was "too expensive" when it would only be used three times a week

Managing Director Helen Byrne said: "Ideally, printing would remain on the Isle of Man but the benefits of moving to a modern press plant greatly outweigh leaving things as they are.

"Readers and advertisers will really see the difference."

Mr Butt added: "If the proposals go ahead and we can redeploy staff, we will do."

He could not give an exact figure on the number of casual staff affected, but the internal consultation on the proposals will begin in early 2012.

Content would continue to be produced by staff on the island under the new plans and it would then be emailed to Dinnington.

After they have been printed, newspapers would then be transported to the island by ferry, along with the UK national newspapers.

The group said readers of the Examiner and the Manx Independent would benefit from being able to buy the paper in the morning rather than lunchtime under the plans.

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