Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


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

According to the Irish News, a staggering £100m is spent each year funding the brain drain of students from Northern Ireland to universities in Britain - enough, it says, to wipe out tuition fees.

The paper says it has been looking at figures which reveal that a fifth of what is spent in NI on higher education goes towards students enrolled elsewhere.

It says as universities in England plan to almost treble their fees, the annual cost of funding the exodus is expected to spiral further.

Elsewhere, there is a different lead story in the News Letter - anger that Real IRA sympathisers took part in a protest in favour of a new radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.

It says pictures have emerged on the internet showing grinning supporters of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement on the march last month.

The local MP Gregory Campbell is outraged. He tells the paper this was an "appalling misrepresentation" of what the march was about.

Queen's visit

The is concern in the Belfast Telegraph about the Queen's visit to the Republic of Ireland.

The concern is being expressed by the general secretary of the Garda Representative Association. In fact, it is more than concern - he says there could be Armageddon unless millions of euros can be found to bankroll the security operation.

He says policing budgets will not cover the planning, surveillance and intelligence-gathering needed to protect the Queen, so the cash-strapped Irish government needs to come up with extra funding for the royal visit and the visit of President Obama.

Looking at the Dublin papers, it is not often you see the word "hope" in a headline about the economic situation.

But "Hope of debt write-off for mortgage holders" is the main headline in the Irish Independent, with the news that the AIB might use some of its latest bail-out money to help struggling borrowers.

There is a more bleak economic story in the Irish Times. It says the Restaurant Association of Ireland is predicting that restaurants in the Republic will close at a rate of ten a week if something is not done.

In the Irish News, there is more on the story about the old Belvoir Park hospital.

The paper reports a pledge by the Belfast Trust that 20,000 patient files which were abandoned at the derelict hospital will be gone by Friday.

There is also more on the woman who has been featured over the past few days.

She gained access to the site and posted pictures of herself on the internet dressed as a nurse.

The Irish News reports that she previously broke into the Big Brother set and describes herself as an "urban explorer".


In the London papers, there is a chilling picture on the front of the Mail showing weapons found by police investigating the murder of the London schoolgirl whose killers were jailed on Tuesday.

The arsenal includes loaded sub machineguns, automatic pistols and a shotgun. The paper says they were found under a schoolboy's bed.

The Times follows the lives of six young people trying to find work. It says there are forecasts that there will soon be a million 16-24 year olds unemployed with little prospect of improvement.

The Daily Telegraph has details of some of the things people have been sending in with their census forms - even though you are not supposed to send anything.

According to the paper, people have sent passports, cheques, a completed driving licence form and even a picture of the Queen.

The census director tells the paper he is delighted with the response but he wants anyone returning the form this week to just check that they have not slipped the shopping list in by mistake.

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