Thanks to everyone who's taken the trouble to post comments about this issue, regardless of the angle you were coming from. I think between myself and Pete Barron, your comments and the other sites which picked up on our discussion, we managed to cover the key points.
I simply mention now that over at the Independent, Paul Evans has written an online piece which (more or less) comes to my defence, so thanks to him for that. He makes some interesting points about the development of really local journalism in Ireland, which may be relevant as our local titles struggle for direction. Alas, I'm still Nick Willis. Maybe it's time for another name change... ;)