Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

On the front page of the Belfast Telegraph is a picture of the secluded beauty spot near Bessbrook where a young mother was attacked at the weekend in front of her children.

The paper says the local community is in shock.

The story features in the News Letter as well and in the Irish News Sinn Fein councillor Pat McGinn, who lives nearby, calls it "a vicious and horrible crime".

The Mirror front page quotes the Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy who says the culprit must be caught and caged.

The main story in the Irish News is concerns about staffing in the A&E department at the Royal.

The paper writes about a report that was produced in December 2009. It expressed concern at the time about the fact that junior doctors were in charge without senior supervision between 2am and 8am.

Alarmingly, the Irish News says, this situation remains unchanged.

The report was carried out by the Medical and Dental Training Agency and published on their website. But one un-named doctor says it's been buried and you need to go through five steps online to find it.

Meanwhile an official at the Belfast Trust tells the Irish News they're trying to recruit six experienced doctors, as recommended in the review, to provide senior round-the-clock cover.

Elsewhere the main story in the News Letter features the Territorial Army band. It used to be that you could hire them for charity events for £300 but the fee has now risen to £3,000.

The News Letter says fundraising ventures have been thrown into turmoil and a soldiers' charity event which was due to be held at Belfast City Hall next week has been cancelled.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence says the price rise has been necessary because of financially difficult times.

And handshakes on the front pages of the Dublin papers.

Enda Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore are all smiles after they've agreed a deal on government. The Irish Times says they'll be meeting again today to work out their Cabinet.

The Irish Independent says they've locked their coalition parties into a five-year plan of cutbacks and stealth-tax increases.

The deal has been done, it says, but huge hurdles now confront the new partners.

Prince Andrew's pictured all smiles on the front page of the Daily Telegraph although as the paper points out, the picture was taken last June so he mightn't be feeling quite so jolly now.

The Telegraph and the Mail have further embarrassing revelations. He's under the spotlight because of his friendship with the American financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender.

The papers tell us this morning that the Duchess of York accepted £15,000 from Epstein to help pay off her debts. The Mail says she's claiming the arrangement was brokered by her ex-husband.

The Times says Downing Street would shed no tears if Prince Andrew resigned as Britain's trade envoy.

Turning back to the local papers and there are tributes to two of our best-known playwrights.

The Irish News features the Tomelty family who gathered in Portaferry at the weekend to honour the late Joseph Tomelty on the centenary of his birth. There's now a blue plaque outside his old home.

And in the Irish Independent we have Brian Friel being honoured by his adopted county and being made Donegal Man of the Year.

At the celebrations at the weekend he said he didn't know how he was going to handle the responsibility for the next 12 months and at the age of 82, after two strokes, deaf as a post and needing a walking stick, he'd settle for Donegal person of the night.

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