Three local newspapers in the midlands of Ireland have shutdown, making 25 people unemployed. The Roscommon Champion, Longford News and Athlone Voice will cease operations on Tuesday afternoon.

The newspapers were all run by Alpha Newspaper Group, owned by former Unionist MP, John Taylor, and his family.

Alpha Newspapers has laid off a number of their staff members and moved the layout and design departments to the North of Ireland.
The 25 workers at the Midland newspapers told RTE (Ireland's national broadcaster) that they are devastated by the news.

The Roscommon Champion has been in operation for 83 years. It first went to print in 1927 and had been printed weekly since.

The Longford News is more than 50-years-old. The Athlone Voice is less than ten-years-old.

In 2005 John Taylor purchased the Longford News and Roscommon Champion as part of a deal worth EUR14m. The deal also included the Tullamore Tribune and Midland Tribune. Those newspapers are owned by Arnold and Sheila Fanning and are unaffected by today's announcement.

The three newspapers are not for sale. It has not been made clear whether the 25 staff will be offered positions in the company's Northern Ireland operations.

The group has blamed the economic downturn in Ireland for their closure. They cited an adverse effect from the downturn on circulation and advertising revenue as the reason for their closure.