The Sunday Tribune has issued a statement this morning in response to what it calls a 'shameless' act by a rival newspaper.

Some copies of the Irish Mail on Sunday have gone on sale this morning with a front page that appears to be the Sunday Trubune, but when opened reveals the Mail on Sunday.

A receiver was appointed to the Sunday Tribune on Tuesday and the paper is currently in the process of seeking a buyer, although the paper will not be published while that process is in place.

The Sunday Tribune Editor Noirin Hegarty said she was appalled and shocked at the Irish Mail on Sunday's attempt to make some of its newspapers look like a copy of the Sunday Tribune.

Ms Hegarty said: '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 stafff and indeed Jim Luby the Receiver are working flat out in the hope of keeping the newspaper afloat.

'We are talking about 43 jobs in Ireland here, not extra remuneration for Associated Newspapers back in the UK.

'This attempt at burial of a still alive corpse and grave robbing by the Mail Group is a shameless act of commercial vandalism and I would beseech the fair-minded Irish Sunday newspaper audience to fight back by refusing to buy its titles.'

The National Consumer Agency said this evening, ‘the matter is being taken very seriously and a communication will be issued to the Irish Mail on Sunday tomorrow.’

The Irish Mail On Sunday said in a statement today that its 'marketing exercise', which involved the paper using a Sunday Tribune wrap around on its front cover, is to 'persuade as many Tribune readers as possible to keep buying newspapers'.

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

He said: 'We wanted to make sure those readers were aware that the Irish Mail on Sunday is an Irish paper.

'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.'

The statement goes on to say that the Mail on Sunday 'wants to protect those 161 Irish jobs' and 'of today's marketing exercise encourages more people to buy a paper today, surely that is something we should encourage'.

The Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists has condemned the Irish Mail on Sunday’s actions as ‘crass and cynical’.

In a statement, Séamus Dooley said: ‘This was a cynical marketing exercise and represents a new low in Irish journalism.’

‘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.

‘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.’