Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

Basil McCrea, one of the Ulster Unionist leadership contenders, features in the News Letter.

The paper says the battle between him and his rival Tom Elliott is hotting up.

Elsewhere, the main stories in the Irish News and the Belfast Telegraph have a common theme - the subject of alcohol.

The Belfast Telegraph says dealing with drink and smoking-related problems is crippling the health service here. It says it costs around £234m a year to treat people with addictions.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, tells the paper it is the biggest public health threat.

The Belfast Telegraph says staff at the Accident and Emergency department of Belfast City Hospital are bracing themselves for an influx of alcohol-related problems as the new university year begins.

The paper also warns about the glamorisation of people such as George Best and Alex Higgins. It says it is time Northern Ireland "sobered up".

'All you can drink'

A disturbing picture takes up almost the whole front page of the Irish News. It shows a young man crumpled on the ground in Donegall Street at the weekend after an "all you can drink for £25" night at a nearby pub.

The paper sent a reporter to the pub to find out how it worked.

He says you paid your £25 on the way in and there was a sign at the bar saying customers could have a maximum of two drinks at a time.

But that, apparently, just meant people taking their two drinks to a table and then going back for two more.

The paper says there was no visible control over the alcohol consumption of customers, some of whom by midnight were slumped over tables or standing weak-kneed at the bar.

The paper talks to Stormont Minister Alex Attwood who criticises what he calls reckless drink promotions and their impact on health and public order.

Wayne Rooney features in the cross channel papers.

"Vice girl shame" says the Mirror which devotes eight pages to the theme.

Nearly as much coverage runs in the Sun which says the sobbing footie ace has been telling pals: "My life is in ruins".

"Coleen will make Wayne pay," says the headline.

Fresh inquiry call

Elsewhere, the Guardian and the Independent with calls by MPs and other public figures for a fresh inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World and allegations that the editor at the time, Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron's communications man, knew what was going on... which he denies.

The Independent says the scandal threatens to engulf the prime minister whose judgement in appointing Mr Coulson is being questioned.

The Daily Telegraph says William Hague took his young adviser Christopher Myers on a publicly-funded trip to Afghanistan before he had actually given him a job.

The paper says they also spent two nights in Bahrain on their way back from the trip and that Mr Myers joined Mr Hague on trips to Northern Ireland which were funded by Conservative donors.

'Show goes on'

The Irish Independent has the story of Daniel O'Donnell getting ready to appear at a theatre in Adelaide in Australia at the weekend when there was a city-wide power cut.

In spite of this, he insisted that the show should go on and so fans were admitted to the theatre with torches.

Once inside, they were treated to the unusual spectacle of Daniel singing to them through a megaphone for two hours.

And then the power came back on and he performed for another two hours after that.

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