A witness before the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, which is examining the proposed acquisition of CMNL Limited - formerly Celtic Media Newspapers Limited - by Independent News and Media, has expressed concern over being before a committee of which Michael Lowry is a member.

Dublin City University Professor Colum Kenny said while he did not view the potential take over in personal terms, he said he had "difficulties" appearing before a committee looking at the take over of INM on which Mr Lowry sits. 

"I think there's a conflict of interest", he said.

He also expressed concern over the lack of "firm details" regarding the takeover and said such circumstances made it difficult to give an informed position.

Prof Kenny said he did not understand how the committee had been asked to make a consideration of a matter before the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland had considered it and described the procedure as "awkward".

The business model in local newspapers is broken according to the chief executive officer of CMNL.

In his opening statement to the Oireachtas Communications Committee, Frank Mulrennan said the company and the jobs of 98 people earning €2.8m in salaries almost went out of business in 2012, due to the weight of bank debts and continuing falling revenues.

Mr Mulrennan said his colleagues were hugely supportive of the management buyout, which he said he led in June 2012 because their jobs, and 950 years of newspaper history was secured.

He said 25% of the equity was allocated to editors, sales managers and production managers. 

Mr Mulrennan said Celtic Media Newspapers borrowed €5.5m in 2012, but five years later, the company is faced with a "broken business model" in terms of publishing local newspapers.

He requested that the committee approach the sale with an open mind, ignoring the very considerable noise around the issue in the national media, but a noise he said that had nothing to do with the job security of workers.