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.

The Irish News has a big feature this morning on the special advisers at Stormont.

These are the people appointed directly by the political parties and with salaries - paid by the taxpayer - that are higher than those of assembly members.

The Irish News singles out one of them.

She's Mary McArdle, who advises the new culture minister and the paper reports that she was convicted of one of the most shocking murders of the Troubles.

It says she was part of an IRA squad who ambushed magistrate Tom Travers and his family as they left Mass in south Belfast in April 1984, killing his 22-year-old daughter Mary.


A Sinn Fein spokesman defends the appointment, telling the Irish News Ms McArdle has played an important role in the development of the party's peace strategy and the wider political process.

But the SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness says it's grossly inappropriate.

Elsewhere among the local front pages - we've been hearing about the political wrangling at Belfast City Hall. That's the main story in the News Letter - 'Unionist deal fails'.

It says unionism may get just one Belfast lord mayor in the next four years despite having almost as many members as nationalists and republicans.

And..."The cloud of uncertainty"....the main headline in the Belfast Telegraph.

It's about the ash cloud of course and as we know this is a situation which is being up-dated all the time.

But the Telegraph writes of an anxious wait for bank holiday air travellers.

There's a headline in the Daily Mirror that perhaps sums up the mood of the moment.

There's a picture of the Queen and President Obama. "The best of buddies", the headline says.

The Times looks ahead to the president's address to parliament this afternoon and says he'll set out his most upbeat vision yet of a new international order.

A bit of a sour note from Max Hastings writing in the Daily Mail.

He says Mr Obama's in the UK as part of a political milk round to get himself re-elected.

And it'll be a surprise if he concedes much in his talks with David Cameron unless it happens to suit him.


The Daily Telegraph highlights a reassurance that past differences have been forgotten.

When he was shown letters in the royal archives about the loss of the American colonies, Mr Obama quipped: "That was just a blip in the relationship".

And the Dublin papers will be talking about his visit there for a long time to come

But they're talking about Enda Kenny's speech during the visit as well.

Both the Irish Times and the Irish Independent quote a section, pointing out how it was almost word for word what President Obama said in his 2008 victory speech.

"Was it plagiarism or bungling?", the Independent wonders.

Neither, according to Mr Kenny, who's quoted in the Irish Times. He says he used the words very deliberately since they were so well known.

"It's one of his most famous speeches", he says, and "it hangs in my office".

Lots of pictures this morning the Obamas' meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace.

The Irish Independent shows the president meeting Jedward who introduced themselves with the immortal words: "I'm John..and I'm Edward and together we're Jedward".

The Daily Telegraph says the boys were still on cloud nine when they boarded a plane from Dublin to Heathrow on Tuesday and were showing passengers a packet of M&Ms with the presidential seal on it.

They reckon meeting the president has brought them one step closer to America, one step closer to Britney Spears.

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