Newsagents in Northern Ireland could lose their home delivery rounds after the Belfast Telegraph announced plans to deliver direct to customers.

Enraged local retailers are said to be considering taking the paper off sale in protest.

NFRN head of News Stefan Wojciechowski said: "Removing the home-delivered copy from small newsagents will have a severe impact on those affected and some may well find that they can no longer trade viably. Should these shops close, not only will this be a body blow to local community services and employment, but there will be a negative impact on the carbon footprint of the delivered copy if its only route to consumers is by van."

Wojciechowski advised retailers to warn their customers that a direct service would eliminate all competition, creating a monopoly that would allow the Telegraph to charge what it liked for home delivery.

Belfast Telegraph assistant managing director Richard McClean said the move was a response to a changing marketplace. "While many individual newsagents have provided an excellent home delivery service, collectively the agency system is no longer able to meet the requirements of this particular service," he said.
McClean added that on average one to two Ulster newsagents were withdrawing from home delivery every week.