The former Irish Times editor Conor Brady has called on the Irish government to strike a deal with Google that would help Irish newspapers survive.

He says Irish newspapers face ruin unless a deal like what was done in France is carried out.

Google put up an $80 million fund to assist French newspapers.

Brady told the Guardian newspaper: "I would urge the current minister [for communications], Pat Rabbitte, to consider some such initiative.

"There are fewer journalists and they're working longer hours, discharging more tasks and spreading themselves across a wider range of duties than ever before.

"Not only this. Many of them are being poorly paid; there are very few new entrants now with the security of staff jobs.

"I don't think good journalism can flourish if those who seek to make a career of it cannot be reasonably well-provided for, as well-provided for, for example, as a teacher or a civil servant or a guard."

Brady edited the Irish Times for 16 years before leaving in 2002. He called on publishers to consider sponsored content and explore philanthropic funding.

"Our democracy will be impoverished if news media are so reduced in their fortunes that they cannot actually report the news," Brady said.

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