Anger over Irish Mail on Sunday's 'Tribune edition'

The Irish Mail on Sunday special edition made to look like the Sunday Tribune
Image caption The Irish Mail on Sunday special edition made to look like the Sunday Tribune

An Irish Sunday paper has been accused of "a shameless act of commercial vandalism" after it published a special edition made to look like a rival paper.

The Sunday Tribune will not be published for the next few weeks after a receiver was appointed at the start of the month.

However, on Sunday a special edition of the Irish Mail on Sunday was published which replicated the layout and masthead of the Tribune.

Sunday Tribune editor Noirin Hegarty said she was "appalled and shocked" by the move.

"The Mail On Sunday has shown in this act that it will leave no stone unturned in the race to the bottom.

"The Tribune management and staff and indeed Jim Luby the receiver are working flat out in the hope of keeping the newspaper afloat," she said.

"This attempt at burial of a still alive corpse and grave robbing by the Mail Group is a shameless act of commercial vandalism."

The Irish Mail On Sunday said its "marketing exercise", which involved the paper using a Sunday Tribune wrap-around on its front cover, was to "persuade as many Tribune readers as possible to keep buying newspapers".

Sebastian Hamilton, the newspaper's editor, said Ms Hegarty had urged readers to buy an Irish paper at the weekend.

"We wanted to make sure those readers were aware that the Irish Mail on Sunday is an Irish paper," he said.

"The Mail employs 161 people here in Dublin - almost four times as many as the Tribune. The Irish Mail on Sunday is written here, edited here, printed and produced here."

However, the Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists accused the Irish Mail on Sunday of being "crass and cynical".

"The defence offered by the Mail on Sunday is disingenuous. Even in a fiercely competitive market there must be respect for basic standards of decency," Seamus Dooley said.

"This was an attempt to confuse readers and to cash in on the crisis at the Sunday Tribune in a crass manner which does no credit to the Irish Mail on Sunday or publishers, Associated Newspapers."