Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


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

There are dramatic pictures in the Irish News of the ladies' gaelic match in Tyrone on Friday. A referee and a club official were attacked by a spectator and knocked unconscious.

The referee, Simon Brady, says he does not exactly remember what happened. He tells the paper: "All I knew was I was lying on the ground and it was wet and cold".

The front pages of the Belfast Telegraph and the News Letter have pictures taken during the Armed Forces Day events at Carrickfergus at the weekend.

The images show Army medic Kylie Watson from Ballymena wearing the Military Cross she was awarded for bravery in Afghanistan.

The News Letter has more on the debate about a homecoming event in Belfast for the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards.

It suggests there will be a large scale function at the King's Hall in the Autumn.

The newspaper says that at a city council committee meeting Sinn Fein and the SDLP voted to block the event but it is expected this decision will be overturned at the next full meeting of the council which is next week.

Many newspapers focus on the opening of the new peace bridge in Londonderry. The Irish News says the weekend event showed a city determined to create a better future.

The Belfast Telegraph says the bridge takes just a minute or two to cross but it spans centuries of turbulent history.

The main story in the Belfast Telegraph is on a very different theme.

It reports that up to 180 criminal gangs are operating across Northern Ireland, peddling drugs, prostitution, fake goods and more.

The newspaper says that where this sort of thing was once the domain of paramilitaries, today's gangland threats range from Triad mobsters cultivating and dealing drugs to the Mafia selling fake chainsaws.

The head of the PSNI Organised Crime branch tells the Belfast Telegraph there are investigations running throughout Northern Ireland and that all countries are affected.

Across the channel, Glastonbury dominates the newspapers and several focus on the death of a senior aide to the Prime Minister. According to the Daily Telegraph, Christopher Shale's body was discovered in a portable loo after being missing for 24 hours.

The Daily Mirror points out that the tragedy came just hours after what it calls a devastating memo from Mr Shale about the Conservatives' image was leaked to a Sunday paper.

The Times says the timing of events has prompted questions about whether they were linked. One comment to the paper takes the view that it is a terrible coincidence.

There is also still plenty of controversy in the papers about tickets for the Olympics.

The Guardian says the organisers are braced for more anger as thousands who lost in the first ballot missed out again.

The Daily Express has the headline: "Olympic fury as EU fans hijack tickets".

Meanwhile The Times has a letter from a reader who remembers the 1948 Games. He says he attended all the athletics events, for which he bought an advance ticket for three shillings and six pence.

He says he recently recouped that vast expense by selling his daily programmes for £100.

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