In scenes reminiscent of the opening sequence of Martin Scorsese's masterpiece Gangs of New York, two rival groups of freesheet publishers on Tuesday commenced their battle for supremacy on the streets of Dublin.

After weeks of verbal warefare and litigious activity, Associated Newspapers of the UK and Ireland's Independent News & Media both launched their free morning newspapers on the same day.

A preliminary skirmish was won last Friday when Associated was granted an injunction barring IN&M - which also publishes the Dublin Herald - from usurping the name of its own freesheet: Metro. As an interim response, the Irish group branded its newspaper Herald AM.

Although the rivals' respective circulation levels are unknown at present, they are competing for eyeballs across the Irish capital which has a population of around 1.2 million.

The legal fracas over the Metro brand is set to continue. Lawyers for IN&M are reportedly preparing an application for an injunction against Associated, claiming that it has the right to use ' Metro' because its Evening Herald newspaper already publishes a section with that name.

Associated has teamed with Metro International, which has a ten per cent stake in the Dublin venture and publishes over 50 'Metro' titles in twenty nations across Europe, North & South America and Asia.

Hypes Metro International ceo Pelle Tornberg: "Metro will complement the busy lifestyles of Dubliners."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff