THE FURORE surrounding the topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge intensified today after the Irish Daily Star was published today with the threat of closure hanging over it.
Up to 120 permanent and freelance editorial jobs are at risk at the newspaper, which has been operating out of Dublin since its foundation in 1987.
The Irish Daily Star did not refer in today’s edition to the decision to re-run pages from French magazine Closer, the first to publish the images.
But it did carry photographs and a story about the latest stage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s trip to the Solomon Islands.
Ireland’s Press Ombudsman said at the weekend that no complaints had been made to its office over the Irish Daily Star. The office does not normally discuss complaints before investigations have been completed.
An investigation by the newspaper’s Irish-based shareholder, Independent News and Media (INM), is being launched although it has already warned that it viewed publication as a “poor editorial decision”.
The Irish Daily Star is co-owned by publishing magnate Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell and INM, which this year saw billionaire media tycoon Denis O’Brien wrest control of the company and board from the O’Reilly family.
The National Union of Journalists in Dublin criticised Mr Desmond’s threat to shut down the Irish operation and accused him of double standards on the basis of some of his business interests, including the adult Television X channel.
Michael O’Kane, editor of the Irish Daily Star, defended the decision on Saturday to run the images.
A spokesman for INM said the focus today was on getting the investigation into the editorial decision up and running and described lines of communication between the shareholders as fluid.