Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Baby Melania, RHI and a last lap for tragic rider

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

There's a tragic theme in the Belfast Telegraph and News Letter front pages.

Italian Dario Cecconi, 38, died following a crash in the last lap of the senior support race at the Tandragee 100 on Saturday.

The papers show his coffin being escorted in a "lap of honour" of the circuit.

His girlfriend Francesca and brother Luca were in attendance. His brother described the show of respect as "amazing".

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Dario Cecconi was a popular rider among the road racing fraternity in Northern Ireland

The Irish News reports that there are renewed calls for Arlene Foster to step aside as the inquiry into the RHI scheme starts.

On Thursday, Green Party leader Steven Agnew re-iterated his call for the DUP leader, who was enterprise minister when the scheme was launched in 2012, to step aside.

"I hold firm that it would be best for Mrs Foster to put Northern Ireland ahead of party interest if we get to the stage of nominating a first minister," he said.

All the papers report that the inquiry into the botched green energy scheme is amassing a "vast body of evidence" .

Chair Sir Patrick Coghlin has said "no time limit has been set" as to when the inquiry will report.

The Daily Mirror gets down to bread and butter issues with the headline: "School Heads: No more cuts".

The paper says school principals in Belfast have joined forces to warn they will refuse to implement any more cuts to school budgets.

In a letter to parents, the principals say they are facing an "untenable situation" which is "compromising their pupils' education".

'What's in a name?'

Image copyright AFP
Image caption First Lady Melania Trump's name features in baby names 2016

"Cinderella, Prince and Gigi" - not a Disney pop group, but just a few of the weird and wonderful names that babies have been named in 2016.

The Irish News reports National Office of Statistics information that shows James is the top baby name for boys while Emily leads the top girl baby names in Northern Ireland.

But among the hoards of Graces, Oliver and Alfies there are some more unusual offerings with names like Dallas and even Melania. Were her parents influenced by the First Lady?

The News Letter reports that Arlene Foster's meeting with Irish language groups seems to have been a hit.

The former first minister met Irish language enthusiasts at Stormont on Thursday as part of her pledge "to reach out to those who speak the language".

The meeting was hosted by Pobal - the independent advocacy group for the language and was described as "very worthwhile and useful," by director Janet Muller.

However the meeting hasn't been welcomed by all fronts.

Jim Allister is less than sanguine about the pledge, accusing the former first minister of "genuflecting to the Irish language brigade".

The Irish News and Belfast Telegraph report that the TUV leader said the DUP was "preparing to pay Sinn Féin's price for the return to office".

'Puppy love'

There is a shaggy dog story in the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper reports that two eight-week-old puppies named Megan and Mo are looking for a home after they were abandoned at the side of the road near Garvagh.

The German Shepherd pups were discovered by a member of the public who said they "seemed to be covered in slugs and were suffering from a skin condition".

Let's hope they get a good home soon.

Image caption Irish pop star Una Healy will headline a Larne festival on Saturday

And finally, good news for fans of music group The Saturdays - pop star Una Healy is Larne bound!

The singer has been unveiled as the headline act at The Friends' Goodwill Festival on Saturday.

The Irish pop star said she is "looking forward" to the experience.