Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's newspapers.

Proposed PSNI budget cuts are the top story in the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper says Chief Constable Matt Baggott has warned the justice minister that the police can't operate effectively if he is forced to make severe budget cuts.

The paper claims that in a confidential document to the justice department, the chief constable said the PSNI must not be forced to operate with any less than its current quota of 7,500 officers.

The News Letter is also worried about reduced budgets.

"Now is not the time to penny-pinch and politicians must ensure the police get more money when they need it - the alternative is unthinkable," it says.

And the Irish News reports that special mirrors to check for booby-trap bombs under cars have been offered to politicians and public figures, in response to the heightened security threat from dissident republicans.

'Blood money'

There are plenty of questions over Tony Blair's donation to the Royal British Legion in the newspapers.

"Generous gesture or guilty conscience?" is how the Guardian sums up the situation.

The former prime minister announced he would donate the proceeds from his forthcoming memoirs to Britain's biggest military charity.

The Daily Telegraph wants to know how much the Legion will actually receive.

No answer was forthcoming from Mr Blair's office. He's also been accused of using the donation as "blood money" to appease the families of those killed in British military action.

The Times says it's all about trying to rebuild Mr Blair's reputation - and it warmly welcomes the move, describing it as an "act of courage", a confirmation of Mr Blair's conviction that the causes to which he committed Britain's armed forces were worth fighting for.

The paper says that it's churlish to damn him for giving money to such a worthy cause.

'Hero driver'

Wheel clamping is the subject of the day in the Sun and the Mail.

The Sun hails "a hero driver" who beat car clampers trying to fine him almost £4,000 by refusing to budge from his car for 30 hours.

He had a clamp on each wheel. Nursery boss Haroon Zafaryab held on grimly to the steering wheel of his Toyota Prius, which couldn't be towed away with him in it, cheered on by an assembled crowd.

It's even got the Page Three girl - Danni, 23, from Coventry - quoting "her favourite French poet Victor Hugo".

She says Mr Zarayab's victory reminded her of his observation that "no army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come".

Over at the Daily Mail, the paper claims a victory for its campaign to ban wheel clamping on all private land.

It says the government coalition has decided enough is enough after 1.5 million motorists were snared by ruthless clamping companies in the last year.

'Gutted'

And finally, the Times bids farewell to a mighty fish.

He was the Pavarotti of the fish world, a bloated leviathan and a true celebrity says the paper - that's Two Tone, Britain's biggest carp who, sadly, has been found floating in his pond, elusive no more.

For carp fishermen, Two Tone was the ultimate catch.

He was 31kg and lived in Conningbrook Lake in Kent, and anglers put their names on a waiting list for the right to try to catch him.

Dozens of tributes, including poems, have been left by the lake. One distraught angler described himself as "gutted".

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