Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

There is no sign of the Irish economic and political crisis disappearing from the front pages.

It's almost as if columnists and leader writers are struggling to find sufficiently extreme language to describe the extent of the problem.

"There has never been such a political shambles in the history of the state," says Stephen Collins in the Irish Times, after Brian Cowen agreed to an early 2011 election.

He says the coalition crumbling just days before the publication of a four-year budget strategy has added a whole new layer of uncertainty to an already volatile situation.

Fintan O'Toole, also writing in the paper, says "the consequences of turning bank debt into national debt will be severe, and the poor and vulnerable will be hammered".

The Belfast Telegraph is concerned about the consequences for Northern Ireland.

Since banks on both sides of the border are so closely linked, the crisis is bound to cause economic shocks here, says the paper.

It points to possible repercussions in the housing market, trade, tourism and investment too.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron tells the Telegraph that he signed off the £7bn bailout loan to the Republic to save Northern Ireland from spinning into economic crisis.

The English papers consider the shockwaves further afield.

The bleak headline in the Times sums it up: "Fear stalks the eurozone as Ireland faces ruin".

Leading economists have warned that Ireland's 85bn euros rescue won't be enough to stamp out the eurozone crisis.

The Daily Telegraph reports that uncertainty over the Irish financial bail-out has led to a sharp fall in the price of shares in British banks, which have large outstanding loans in Ireland.

But the Guardian supports Britain's decision to offer the Republic financial support, as does the Times.

It says that refusing to participate in the bailout would damage the UK's banks and trade - as well as its public finances.

Riddle solved

A literary riddle is solved in the Belfast Telegraph.

When local author Christopher Marsh wrote a riddle into his novel, A Year in the Province, he was pretty sure no-one would solve it.

But Belfast man David McNeill has worked out the complex code 18 months after the book was published.

The exact co-ordinates of where a Spanish medieval coin was buried were scattered through the novel.

Mr McNeill unpicked anagrams and rhymes to deduce the coordinates from the clues, and he ended up on Rathlin Island, where he found the ancient coin placed in a hole within a wall in a ruined house.

And the prize? A meal for two at a Stranmillis restaurant and a bottle of whiskey that Christopher Marsh had assumed he'd end up drinking himself.

The Daily Telegraph explains why cats aren't as smart as they think they are.

For years, cats have had us believe that they have the intellectual high ground over dogs, sure that they were the mentally superior pet.

But now it seems that cats have paid a heavy price for their independent turn of mind. According to new research from Oxford, dogs are smarter than cats because their friendly character has helped them develop bigger brains.

A cartoon from Matt accompanies the piece - it shows a dopey-looking dog in a suit with a briefcase. "He's not that smart", says the owner. "He was in favour of us joining the euro..."

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