Fifty journalists and sub-editors are to lose their jobs after editorial outsourcing company Real-time Editing and Design Limited told staff they were closing down their Dublin operation.

The company provides sub-contracted copy editing services for the newspaper and magazine industry, including Independent Newspapers.

RE&D Managing Director Terry Kavanagh told RTÉ News that Independent Newspapers had decided not to renew its contract with RE&D and the company would be closing its Dublin office as a result.

He said Independent Newspapers had decided to move to a workflow involving journalists "writing to fit to shapes on a page".

Mr Kavanagh said this meant there would be a "drastic" reduction in their need for sub-editing.

He said that a small number of senior executives, including himself, would be moving to the company's Belfast office.

However, the Belfast office will also be affected by the decision by Independent Newspapers.

The remaining staff will receive redundancy pay of one week's pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements.

Mr Kavanagh said the first phase of redundancies would take place in March and the operation would be gone by July.

The National Union of Journalists has said it is extremely shocked and concerned at the announcement.

NUJ official Ian McGuinness said it had not yet had a chance to meet members, but pledged to do whatever it could to support the staff.

He also voiced concern about the additional workload that would be placed on journalists in Independent Newspapers.