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.

For many papers, the picture of the day is of the Queen bowing her head at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.

"A moment of healing," is the Irish Independent headline.

"A moment," says the Irish Times, "that many people thought they would never see."

Other papers show the Queen setting foot on Irish soil for the first time and several have come up with the same idea.

"One small step for a monarch," says London's London Independent.

"One's small step for ma'am," is the headline in the Sun.

The Daily Telegraph is on the same theme: "One small step and a giant stride into history."

The paper says the unprecedented security measures meant that no members of the public were able to witness the moment but millions were watching on television as Ireland's troubled relationship with the Royal family was finally banished.

It was a day for much symbolism - not least in the Queen's choice of outfit for her arrival.

Trivial details

"The Emerald Queen," is the Daily Mirror's headline.

The Times says it was a day when the most trivial of details assumed a significance.

"There was the Queen in green. There was yellow for the fluorescent jackets of the police lining the streets and black, the colour of the balloons released by some protesters," The Times says.

"Reconciliation, security and protest, the paper says - the three big themes of the visit in three big brush strokes - a new Irish tricolour for the week."

The papers appear to have left no area of the visit uncovered.

The Guardian even employed an expert in body language for the occasion.

He notes that when President McAleese welcomed her visitor, there was no bending of the knee or dipping of the head, nothing that might suggest an unequal relationship.

He says the same strategy was evident when Enda Kenny shook hands with the Duke of Edinburgh.

In fact, he was so eager to stand his ground, "that Prince Philip had to stretch to reach him".

David Cameron writes in the Irish Times (the paper explains at the end of his piece that he's the British Prime Minister).

'Shared determination'

He says this isn't the end of one chapter but the start of another.

He hopes that when the visit is over, a sense of warm friendship will remain, along with a shared determination to work together in the years ahead.

The Irish News says the visit "isn't a crowd-pleasing exercise".

"It's about symbolism and cementing an already close relationship," the paper says.

News Letter columnist Alex Kane calls it the "Casablanca moment - the beginning of a beautiful friendship".

In the Belfast Telegraph, commentator Liam Clarke turns his attention to the protestors. He says they're "in denial and can't accept that the conflict is over, despite the evidence of their eyes".

"The Queen laying a wreath for Ireland's patriot dead... an Irish military band playing the British national anthem... no wonder the dissidents are protesting," he says. "It's a requiem for all they stand for.

The Mirror wonders if Iris Robinson will attend events on Wednesday along with her husband.

It quotes a DUP source saying: "Hopefully the dust has settled somewhat and she can be allowed to get on with her life."

And there's much interest in how Prince Philip's getting on.

So far so good, according to the Irish Independent which has the headline: "No early blunders for the Duke of Decorum."

There's a picture of him rather avidly studying the technique of a red-haired harpist.

The paper says that microphones on Tuesday were much too far away for us to be able to hear anything he had to say, but we can only wait and hope.

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