A daily newspaper’s historic base is set to close with the loss of 89 printing jobs.
Dublin-based INM has blamed the “industry wide” trend of reducing print volumes and the loss of a key contract for the move.
The four storey building, pictured below, on Royal Avenue, in Belfast, has been occupied by the Bel Tel for more than 130 years.
A statement from INM reads: “INM today announced the planned closure of its printing operation in Belfast.
“INM also confirmed that it remains committed to its Belfast publishing business which will continue as normal.
“The print closure, which is expected to be implemented by no later than June 2016, is expected to entail a reduction of up to 89 employees, and reflects the industry wide trend of reducing print volumes as consumption of news via digital channels increases, together with the ending of a key contract with a UK publisher in Belfast.”
It is understood 61 people will be made redundant in October, with a further 28 leaving in June next year.
The remainder of the 201 printing jobs currently based in Belfast will then be transferred to the company’s lower-cost operations centre in Newry.
The statement continues: “Discussions will also be held with the remaining publishers to find alternative arrangements for the printing of their papers before the Belfast printing operation closes, at the latest, in June 2016. INM will liaise with staff and update them on all developments.
“The closure of the print division does not affect INM’s news publishing division in Belfast, whose titles include the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life and Sunday World.
“However the closure of the printing operation means that the company’s office on Royal Avenue, Belfast is no longer appropriate. INM will therefore relocate to new offices in Belfast.
“The closure of the print operation reflects the wider global trend in declining newspaper circulations, and the rise of news consumption via digital channels.
“INM remains committed to its long term strategy of multiplatform news delivery in Northern Ireland.”