The National Union of Journalists has said the decision by UTV to enter an agreement with Communicorp for Newstalk to provide news to the UTV group of radio stations has serious implications for employment, employment standards and media diversity in Ireland.

The NUJ has asked Minister for Communications Alex White to intervene directly to protect employment and media diversity in the commercial radio sector.

Under the terms of the deal, Newstalk will provide news and sports coverage to Limerick 95FM, LMFM, Cork 96FM, C103FM, Q102 and FM104.

NUJ Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley said: "The National Union of Journalists is gravely concerned with this development and will be examining the full implications for employment in the UTV group of radio stations.

"The Minister for Communications must cry halt to this latest threat to media diversity.

"In terms of diversity of news, analysis and opinion we do not believe that the public interest will be best served by further extension of the influence of a dominant player in the Irish media market, Communicorp."

Newstalk announced the deal earlier today, saying it would become the largest news supplier in Ireland.

The station said it already provides services to 25 independent and local stations, and said the new additions would bring the total to 31.

"We are delighted to announce the addition of the UTV group of stations to the network," said Director of News at Newstalk John Keogh.

"Today's announcement is a very welcome one which demonstrates the collective strength of independent radio news in Ireland.

"The total available audience of 1.7 million is much greater than the 1.2 million listeners reached by all RTÉ radio stations; proving independent radio news is the most powerful information source in the country."

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of UTV Radio Ireland Ronan McManamy said the organisation took the decision to move its national radio news provision to Newstalk in order to "benefit from the collective strength of independent radio across Ireland".

Mr McManamy added: "There are no redundancies as a result of this decision.

"In addition, individuals who currently provide services to the newsroom on a shift basis have been advised that their services will continue to be required going forward."