Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories

Newspapers

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

The Belfast Telegraph reports on the continuing row over legal aid payments.

The paper says that a deepening dispute between lawyers and Justice Minister David Ford is threatening to bring chaos to Northern Ireland's courts.

According to senior legal sources, unless the minister re-negotiates the system introduced last week - which will see solicitors' pay in standard legal aid cases cut by 25% - hundreds of lawyers could withdraw from all new serious criminal cases once they go to the Crown Court.

In the Irish News, John McAreavey - the husband of murdered schoolteacher Michaela - describes how his deep faith has helped him cope with his loss.

In its editorial, the paper turns its attention to Paul McCloskey and his WBA world title fight against Amir Khan. There was something manifestly unfair about McCloskey's treatment, the paper says, and the Dungiven boxer deserves a rematch.

'Narrow minded'

The News Letter is disappointed that there will be no blue commemorative plaque outside Lord Carson's former home in London, after English Heritage turned the request down. Pointing out that there is a blue plaque outside Carson's Dublin house, it says the decision is narrow-minded and maximum pressure should be put on English Heritage to think again.

There is a strong focus on the Republic of Ireland in the Times. It follows Taoiseach Enda Kenny's first visit to Britain since forming a government last month.

Mr Kenny said that the Queen's forthcoming visit to Ireland would be "a moment of healing" that the vast majority of Irish people would welcome wholeheartedly. In an editorial, the paper reflects again on Ireland's debt crisis. It calls on David Cameron to help by cutting the interest rate on its loan to Ireland, and it also wants him to lobby within the EU for a wider re-negotiation of the bailout.

Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph is among several papers to be awfully excited about Nigella Lawson's full body 'burkini', which she wore as she hit the surf in Australia. The paper says she wore the modesty-saving outfit, designed for Muslim women, to protect her "creamy complexion" from the sun.

Finally, the Irish Times reports on a difficult encounter with an otter that brought the County Clare town of Tulla to a standstill on Monday.

Traffic cone

The animal was marching down the main street when two local men decided to head it off into a courtyard to try to trap it. But the otter was having none of that and it soon became aggressive, as a crowd of people gathered to watch. The otter then investigated an empty packet of crisps, and - fearing it would choke - local farmer Joe Burke lunged at the animal, and managed to capture it in a thick sack.

He put it in the back of his SUV, intending to release it at a nearby lake. However, on the way, the otter chewed through the sack and jumped out the back window. "Now he was out in the open country," said Mr Burke, "and he had the upper hand on us".

After a prolonged chase, Mr Burke eventually trapped the otter inside a traffic cone and returned him to the lake.

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