After many decades and perhaps a modicum of soul searching, The (Irish) Sun has decided to abandon Page 3 in this jurisdiction. The reason forwarded is that the editorial staff have just realised that there are "cultural differences" between the papers spiritual home and here.
The decision was most likely taken to test the waters. The Sun in the UK and other periodicals have come under sustained pressure of late to cloth the page three lady or even retire her. The pressure is also being heaped on retailers carrying what some deem to be offensive material. Just this week Tesco's have insisted that "lads mags" are now bagged so that no flesh is visible, that they are on the high shelf and purchasers have to be 18 and over.
Or perhaps they are letting the circulation figures influence the decision. The Sun carries Page 3 Monday to Friday only. The page isn't carried on Saturday nor is it in the Sun Sunday edition. The M-F edition of the Sun sells 58,800 in the Republic and 89,100 on a Saturday. It strikes me that the joined up thinking in the Sun was that the circulation difference is down to the lack of Page 3 on a Saturday.
To my knowledge there hasn't been any pressure on the paper here to ensure the Irish girls only appear in their Sunday best. The decision smacks of one based on test marketing rather than temperance. The English counterpart has intimated that Page 3 is a legacy product and may not be fitting in 2013 and can test the waters here as to the absence of that item.
But even stranger is to blame it on a 'road to Damascus' moment whilst working in the Emerald Isle when you suddenly realise that there are "cultural differences" between the Kingdom and the State. Music, heritage, political systems, a second spoken language, a constitution as opposed to a lack of one, citizens not subjects – all of these come to mind immediately as to a few cultural differences.
Did the paper see the glaring "cultural difference" in the 90's when, as a "UK paper", was able to avoid full VAT on its product or perhaps when it was able to ship papers into the country on a firm sale audit figure? Does it see any cultural difference that allows the Irish Sun to sign up to the Press Council and its English counterpart to be so vehemently opposed to doing so?
770 years and 30 years of Corrie - take your balls in your lámh and try another explanation other than "cultural differences".