One of the country's largest regional newspaper groups has taken further action to deal with what it described as "difficult trading conditions".

Johnston Press, which owns 12 local papers and employs over 140 people, announced plans yesterday to close down the Offaly Express newspaper in Tullamore with the loss of eight jobs.

The group has now put four other newspaper editors and five advertising managers on notice of possible redundancy.

The move is part of a bid to introduce a new management structure at five titles.

RTÉ News understands the nine staff members affected work at the Leitrim Observer, Longford Leader, Leinster Express, Leinster Leader and Dundalk Democrat.

They have been asked to co-operate with new a system where “editorship clusters” will be introduced for the papers involved.

Johnston Press CEO John Fry said last May that in terms of classified adverts the Irish market is in double digit decline compared to the weekly take for its UK business.

He said classifieds adverts for employment, property and motors are all down in Ireland.