Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Mike Philpott looks at what is making the headlines in Friday's papers.

The Irish News reports that 6,000 people have applied for just 24 jobs in the Fire and Rescue Service - that's 250 applicants for every post. The paper sees it as a "stark sign of the desperate scramble for jobs" in Northern Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that relatives of victims, in what it calls a UVF supergrass trial, will watch the proceedings by video link next week at a secure location because of the fear of threats or violence from paramilitary supporters.

The local edition of the Daily Mirror leads with the news that the Celtic manager Neil Lennon is taking legal advice about challenging the verdict in the case of a man who'd been accused of assaulting him. The case finished with a "not proven" verdict by a Scottish jury.

The News Letter focuses on the sad moment when the family of Wayne Hamilton, the motorcycle racer killed on the Isle of Man on Monday, picked up the trophy he won two days before his death.

The Irish Independent says Fianna Fail is preparing to cut all ties with its former leader, Bertie Ahern. The paper says there's anger among the party's grassroots about some of his recent public statements, quoting one senior party source as saying that "every public utterance digs the problem deeper". It calls it "a remarkable reversal of fortunes" for a man who took Fianna Fail to three election victories.

The Irish Times says his claim that he could have won the presidency if it hadn't been for the party's unpopularity has been dismissed by the current leader, Micheal Martin, as "ridiculous". He added that he was "appalled" by other remarks Mr Ahern made about party activists during a radio interview.

The papers in London relish further leaks from the memoirs of the former Chancellor, Alistair Darling.

The Independent's "i" newspaper leads with his criticism of the "arrogant and stupid" bankers - to use his words - who came close to bringing the whole country down.

The Daily Telegraph concentrates on his opinion of the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Fred Goodwin. According to Mr Darling, he behaved "as if he was off to play a game of golf" while officials struggled to prevent a meltdown.

The Times says Gordon Brown was confronted with some other revelations from the book, in which he is described as having "a brutal and volcanic temperament". Perhaps not surprisingly, he declined to comment.

The Independent wonders who leaked the extracts from the book, the rights to which had been bought by the Sunday Times. It says the paper, the publisher and the author could all be worse off as a result.

Finally, several papers lament the passing of the 60 watt light bulb.

The Daily Express says banning incandescent bulbs is the "brightest idea yet" if officials in Europe want to drive Britain out of the European Union. To that end, the paper has started a petition on the government's website to prompt a parliamentary debate on the issue.

The Sun carries a selection of the jokes that won't be as relevant now that we have long life bulbs. One example: How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb? One ... two, and a-one-two-three-four.

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