Kate topless pictures: Irish Daily Star editor is suspended

The Duchess of Cambridge The Duchess of Cambridge is currently touring the Solomon Islands with her husband

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The editor of the Irish Daily Star, Michael O'Kane, has been suspended over its publication of topless photographs of the Duchess Of Cambridge.

The Irishpaper's co-owners, Independent News and Media, confirmed that Mr O'Kane is suspended.

This is while an investigation into the use of the photos takes place.

The Irish Daily Star published the photographs on Saturday, after they had appeared in French magazine Closer.

On Monday, the Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he would revisit the country's privacy bill following the Irish Daily Star's reprinting of the pictures.

Mr Shatter said legislation was needed to ensure a balance between proper investigative journalism and an individual's right to privacy.

"Some sections of the print media are either unable or unwilling in their reportage to distinguish between 'prurient interest' and 'the public interest'," he added.

The tabloid's co-owner, Richard Desmond, said he was "taking immediate steps to close down" the Irish newspaper.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it was an "over the top reaction".

Earlier, the NUJ said it was "disproportionate" to threaten to cut more than 100 jobs.

Mr Desmond is chairman of the UK-based publisher Northern & Shell, which jointly owns the Irish Daily Star with Irish newspaper group, Independent News and Media (INM).

'Sledge hammer'

NUJ Irish secretary, Seamus Dooley, said the closure threat was "a callous and crude attempt by Northern and Shell to protect their UK commercial interests", and he claimed that the company had shown "no regard for the livelihood" of its Irish workers.

Both co-owners of the Irish Daily Star had criticised the decision of its editor, Mike O'Kane, to publish the pictures.

However, like the NUJ, INM has also described Mr Desmond's threat to close the title as disproportionate.

INM said Mr O'Kane's "regrettable" editorial decision was now under investigation but also pointed out that more than 120 staff are currently employed at the Irish Daily Star, directly and indirectly.

'Hissy fit'

Mr Dooley said the contrast between the reactions of the two co-owners was interesting.

He said it would be "quite difficult" for INM to sustain the newspaper without the support of its UK partner.

The general secretary of the NUJ, Michelle Stanistreet, is to write to Mr Desmond on Monday, to express the union's concerns over his remarks.

She has described the closure threat as "an over-the-top reaction which should be reconsidered calmly and with consideration of the full implications for Irish journalism and for editorial diversity".

Lawyers acting for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have begun a bid in France to restrict publication of the pictures.

Their lawyer called for French magazine Closer to hand over the digital originals or face a large daily fine, during a hearing in Nanterre, Paris.

A lawyer for Closer claimed the couple's reaction was disproportionate.

The royal couple earlier launched a criminal complaint in France in relation to the pictures.

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