Vodafone Ireland is planning to offer the Nokia N97 "Mini" later this year, a Vodafone staffer has revealed.

Ev, a forum moderator for Vodafone Ireland, made the unofficial announcement in a forum thread on the topic of when the operator would be getting the Nokia's new flagship handset, that's due to launch in the UK on 19 June.

The post, which has since been removed, was screen-grabbed while live and reads as follows:

"Vodafone Ireland will not be launching the N97 but will be launching the N97 Mini later this year. Due to the N97 Mini's competitive pricing, we feel that it will appeal to a wider segment of consumers".

From Ev's comments is can be assumed that N97 Mini will be a more affordable, stripped down version of the high-end handset.

We have asked both Nokia and Vodafone for comments - Nokia doesn't comment on rumours and speculation - and Vodafone's come back with a "no comment".

Ev's other comments, also removed, suggested that Vodafone will not be getting the Palm Pre when it launches in the UK but would be offering the Storm 2 later this year, which fits with previous reports.