Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories

Newspapers

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

Many of Monday's front pages have pictures of Ronan Kerr's grieving family - the mother, sister and two brothers of the policeman murdered in a car bomb in Omagh at the weekend.

The Irish News headlines the thoughts of his mother Nuala: "Don't let my son's death be in vain".

Those words are echoed in the News Letter and the Belfast Telegraph main headlines. The Telegraph quotes her comment: "We are so proud of Ronan and all he stood for."

There is widespread reaction and anger in the papers in Northern Ireland, Dublin and London. And in Omagh as well.

The Tyrone Herald has six pages on the killing - again with a picture of Nuala Kerr and her plea that her son's death shouldn't be in vain.

The Sun and the Mirror's front pages both remind us that it was Mother's Day on Sunday. The Sun says Constable Kerr had been planning lunch for his mother. The Mirror headline talks of "Mother's Day agony".

"Death of a peacemaker" is the headline in the Guardian which carries a picture of Ronan.

The paper says what happened feels like "a horror risen from the grave". It asks: "Surely such violence - and in Omagh of all places - is now a thing of the past?"

The main headline in the Irish Times is "Security concerns over the dissidents' bombing capability".

It says they are becoming more sophisticated, using under-car bombs that are miniature and more difficult to detect.

Security expert Brian Rowan in the Belfast Telegraph says that in the intelligence world this type of killing had been predicted. He says the advice to government was that it was only a matter of time before the dissident groups would "connect".

Semtex

The Daily Telegraph says the police are investigating whether this bomb was made using semtex supplied by Libya. An accusing finger is pointed at Moussa Koussa, the Libyan Foreign Minister who's now in the UK. The Tory MP Patrick Mercer tells the paper - he was up to his elbows in dealing with the IRA.

The Irish News devotes 13 pages to the murder.

There are pictures of GAA teams observing a minute's silence.

The paper says that when Ronan Kerr, a young Catholic from Tyrone, made the decision to join the PSNI, it symbolised the strength of the peace process and the significant progress which has been made in building a normal society.

Maurice Hayes in the Irish Independent calls the murder "cruel and cowardly". However, he said it should not be read as a sign of the frailty of the political institutions but a challenge provoked by their relative success.

Different views are expressed by former Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter who led the investigation into the Omagh bombing in 1998.

'Emasculated'

Writing in the News Letter, he said the stark reality is that dissident groups have been growing in confidence while security here has been emasculated by political imperatives driven by the peace process.

Events in Libya and the Ivory Coast get a lot of attention.

The Times says it looks increasingly likely that Laurent Bagbo, the man refusing to step down as president of the Ivory Coast, will fight to the bitter end, whatever the cost in lives and destruction.

It says that while the world has focused on events in North Africa and the Middle East, a new African tragedy has unfolded with incalculable consequences for the region.

All this and the desperate situation in Japan too.

The Guardian says concrete has failed to prevent highly radioactive water pouring into the sea from the stricken nuclear power plant.

Now, they are hoping to plug the leaks with an absorbent mixture of sawdust and shredded paper. But so far, officials say, they have yet to see a visible effect.

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