Northern Ireland

What the papers say

newspaper title

Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers.

Public spending is the big talking point locally. The Belfast Telegraph's main headline says "It's even worse than you think" as it reports that the full extent of the cuts became clear at a special summit of Stormont ministers.

But it also reports that "the waste goes on" as an investigation by the Auditor General highlighted examples of inefficiencies in the use of public money.

The Irish News focuses on the spending of up to £200,000 of taxpayers' money on what it calls a "phantom" Ulster-Scots visitor centre in the centre of Belfast.

Survivors

The paper says three quarters of that has been spent on rent and rates, but the centre hasn't opened to the public because of staffing shortages. It quotes the SDLP assembly member John Dallat, who describes it as "a waste of money and space".

The News Letter has its own front-page story about the cuts, but its biggest headline goes to an emotional contribution to a debate at Westminster by the DUP MP the Rev William McCrea.

The paper says he was in tears as he recalled the massacre at Teebane in 1992.

People in difficulty with their mortgages are the focus of attention in Dublin.

The Irish Times says the government in the Republic has laid out its plans to help homeowners who are behind with their repayments.

It reports that an advisory group has recommended allowing people in arrears to agree new payment terms and avoid legal action by their banks for a period of up to one year.

But the Irish Independent has a very different interpretation of the story. It says there's a stark contrast between the government's treatment of those who can't pay their mortgages and its continued bailout of the banks.

According to the story, the banks could "soak up another 1bn euro of taxpayers' money" after it emerged that they didn't disclose just how risky some of their property loans really were.

Knighted

On the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in London that killed 52 people, several of the papers tell the stories of the survivors.

The Times features Davinia Douglass, who has spoken publicly about her ordeal for the first time. A picture of her in a white face mask to protect her burnt skin became one of the iconic images of the attack.

The paper also reports that the security agencies are monitoring two active terrorist cells known to be planning further attacks in Britain.

The Guardian leads with the planned withdrawal of British troops from Sangin in southern Afghanistan.

It says the decision will raise questions about whether holding on to the remote outpost was worth the cost in soldiers' lives. The Sun says it will be an insult to the troops "if this is seen as a retreat".

Finally, on the day that Ringo Starr turns 70, the Times campaigns on his behalf for a knighthood. "Okay, John Lennon once joked, when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, that he wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles".

But in reality, he was the key to the Beatles sound. Another reason it believes he should be knighted is that he saved a generation of parents from having to read all the Thomas the Tank Engine books.

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