Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's newspapers.

Iris Robinson is back on the front pages.

Iris "did nothing wrong" says the Sun and all the local papers are carrying the news that the former MP and Castlereagh Council have both been cleared of any wrongdoing over a contract awarded to run a cafe. An independent investigation made the ruling.

Belfast City Council is also making headlines over the appointment of a new lord mayor - the youngest ever.

Niall O'Donnghaile, 25, has only been a councillor for three weeks and the Belfast Telegraph asks if he's "really the right man" for the job. The News Letter says that Mr O'Donnghaile was "snubbed" at Thursday night's council meeting by new deputy lord mayor Ruth Patterson.

She told the paper that she has not yet decided whether she will talk to him. The Irish News reports that the Short Strand man is the first mayor to have been educated at an Irish medium school. He is Sinn Fein's third Belfast mayor.

'Butcher' arrest

The arrest of Ratko Mladic is the big story across many of the papers.

"Sixteen years on, the Butcher of Bosnia is behind bars" reads the headline in the Guardian. The paper thinks it offers Serbia closure on decades as "a virtual international pariah". The Independent dubs it "the day justice finally caught up with Ratko Mladic" and reporter Marcus Tanner relives his memories of getting into Srebrenica 18 years ago.

Writing in the Daily Express, Colonel Bob Stewart, who commanded UN troops in Bosnia from 1992-3, says that he would like to see the officers who served under Mladic picked up as well. But Col Stewart points out that the man that some call the "Butcher of Bosnia" was a hero to many people in Serbia.

The Daily Telegraph says that the arrest should also send out "a powerful message" to Colonel Gaddafi that "the actions of despots and their henchmen will no longer go unpunished."

There is coalition tension in the government, this time in the Republic of Ireland.

Wage cuts are proving divisive there. And the Irish Independent reports that Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton is refusing to pull back on wage cuts for up to a quarter of a million people, despite "a public slap down" by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. They are unpopular with the Irish Labour party too.

The Irish Times says that Bruton is "on a collision course with Labour back-benchers over pay." In the Irish Independent, Sam Smyth writes that it is the first major test for the coalition after a week "basking in the reflected glory" of two major heads of state and "that rarest of events a life-enhancing funeral" - that of Dr Garret Fitzgerald, of course.

Local hero?

And finally, shaken and stirred... by the Irishman. The new Bond villain is local.

007 has faced Oddjob, May Day, Jaws and Rosa Klebb in the past says the Belfast Telegraph. Now the more "humdrum henchman" he has to face is actor Niall Dunne, aka the Irishman.

Niall is said to be from Northern Ireland. Carte Blanche is the new film - US thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver has been commissioned by the Bond estate. And the villain is described as 6ft 2ins tall, with a blond fringe and a "strange walk".

The other showbiz story of the day is the sacking of Ms Cole from the US X Factor, before it aired. "I've been stitched up by Cowell," says Cheryl Cole in the Daily Mirror. The Times writes that "hours after Barack Obama stressed the value of the special relationship, the United States has turned its back on Britain's sweetheart".

"Cole back to Newcastle" says its editorial.

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