Associated Newspapers, who also own the Daily Mail, is expected to launch a Dublin edition of Metro next week.
Associated are said to have hired a team to distribute the paper across the city in bid to attract readers from the main morning papers and the Evening Herald.
However, the launch looks set to spark a war between Associated and Independent News & Media, publishers of the Irish Independent and the Herald.
A spokesman for Independent News & Media confirmed it will retaliate with its own free paper, though he declined to give details of how much resources the company was pumping into the venture.
The exact details of the Metro assault on the Irish market are being kept under wraps. Doug Read, Metro’s executive director, would not comment on the company’s plans for Irish market when contacted.
The paper is being produced with the co-operation of the Irish Times, though the extent of its involvement is unclear.
Metro has been a huge success in London, where it is distributed primarily at tube stations. Given there is no obvious distribution point in Dublin, the paper will require a small army of people to give it away.
Associated, which entered the market through the acquisition of Ireland on Sunday four years ago, is also expected to launch an Irish edition of the Daily Mail at some point.