Setanta Sports Ireland is to make 21 staff redundant in the coming months. The Irish broadcaster will ask about 40 of its 150 Dublin-based staff to re-apply for their jobs before deciding where the 21 jobs will be lost. The cuts are expected to be made in production at the company.
Staff were told of the redundancies on Friday afternoon but a formal announcement is not expected until tomorrow. "Everyone is glad Setanta in Ireland is continuing. It's just upsetting that so many colleagues are going to be laid off. We all knew it was coming but it was still a shock," said one employee.
Last week, staff at the company had been celebrating after Setanta Sports pipped British satellite broadcaster BSkyB for the right to show 33 live English Premier League games in the Republic of Ireland next season. No price was given by either Setanta or the Premier League, but insiders say the Irish TV company will pay just over €4m for the matches, which will be broadcast on Saturdays. The rights were won by a company called Setanta Hibernia, registered in Luxembourg.
The company's CEO Niall Cogley said he hoped the news would clear up any "confusion" about the future of Setanta in Ireland.
"Although there has been some confusion about Setanta Sports in Ireland following recent developments in the UK, we are now delighted to confirm that we will continue to provide our subscribers with the best-value premium sports service in Ireland and the most attractive sports option for all television advertisers."
Last month Setanta UK was forced into administration after it failed to meet payments to the English and Scottish Premier Leagues.