Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's newspapers.

The water crisis continues, with pressure mounting on Northern Ireland Water bosses.

The cost of modernising the water system is estimated in the Belfast Telegraph as "£500m and 10 years of chaos".

The paper shows the closed eyes of water boss Laurence MacKenzie at a press conference on Thursday and wonders if it's "time for a little prayer, Laurence?"

And there's a challenge to Northern Ireland Water from the News Letter.

It feels that figures of the number of homes affected by the current water crisis underestimate the situation.

The paper also points out that some of the staff of the water service are now embarking on a three-day new year break, despite what it dubs its "abject and totally unacceptable failure" to "provide the most essential commodity to homes".

"Quit, you useless shower," enjoins the Mirror with Stormont first and deputy first ministers calling for accountability from those whom the Mirror calls the "bungling bosses" of the water service.

On a happier note, it was a "wedding of Hartes and minds" says the Irish News.

That's the caption with the wedding photo on their front page. It's the marriage of Michaela Harte to Down footballer John McAreavey.

And Michaela's proud father, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, is smiling fit to burst in the snap. And the paper's lead is also good news, with "2010 road deaths at an all-time low".

Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern's retirement from politics is the big news in the Republic.

"Bertie bails out" is how the Irish Independent announces the decision to depart from Irish politics of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

He's standing down with an estimated pension package of about 146,000 euros.

Mr Ahern admitted having made mistakes, but in his speech on Thursday night said that peace was "our generation's greatest achievement". On the economic front, he also maintained that "Ireland is not banjaxed."

The Irish Times hints of a possible future direction for Mr Ahern and reports that he was asked by journalists if he was now going to run for the Irish Presidency.

He replied that it wasn't an immediate option, but that "everyone would like to be in the Aras."

The arrest of the landlord of Somerset woman Jo Yeates on suspicion of her murder is on many front pages.

The Sun calls him "the strange Mr Jefferies".

The Guardian says detectives had been watching Christopher Jefferies for several days before he was arrested, describing him as "an eccentric but respected member of the community" and the Daily Mail says "he seems an unlikely suspect for cold-blooded murder."

And seasonal sniffs and fevers making headlines, as the flu extends its grip.

The Daily Express calls it " a crisis" and the Guardian quotes experts who predict that the next few days will bring the peak of the winter's flu season, but the Express thinks - more optimistically - that the outbreak has already peaked and that the public should remain calm.

And finally, it's New Year's Eve, but how will the dawn of 2011 be marked?

The Guardian has a special supplement on the best way to have a happy Hogmanay.

They advise that the proper "alcohol to silliness" ratio should be maintained, with the salient advice that "canapes aren't supper".

But the best tip is to "choose your event wisely. If you're invited to a cool party and a boring party, don't go to the boring one as a warm-up. You could be marooned there.

"Just go to the cool one; don't wear tinsel or fancy dress and you'll have a Happy New Year and vitally, not regret it tomorrow."

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