Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

Questions about decommissioned weapons dominate the local headlines.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, details of weapons destroyed by terror groups during decommissioning may never be made public, although a full inventory of weapons put beyond use has been given to the US government.

In its editorial, the Telegraph says we are being asked to take the findings of the independent decommissioning body on trust. But it says that the history of Northern Ireland conflict shows it is not always prudent to accept what we are told as fact.

The News Letter goes further. It says that the move allows terrorist organisations to escape scrutiny, and is "a slap in the face" to the British and Irish governments.

Elsewhere, the Irish News reports that car thefts are down by more than 80%. Not a single car was reported stolen in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast last year. The paper believes there has been a change of culture, brought about by police and community action.


Several papers lead with a new row about alleged newspaper hacking of mobile phones.

The Guardian broke this story on its website on Monday and claims an exclusive for it.

It concerns the allegation that a private investigator working for a Sunday tabloid hacked into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's mobile phone, not long after she went missing. The Independent media editor, Ian Burrell, says the new claims are almost certain to mark a colossal step-change in the way phone-hacking is regarded. No longer can hacking be written off as a way of getting celebrity gossip, he says - this is way more serious.

The Times says the public will be angered that the agony endured by the family of a missing girl might have been exacerbated by journalists chasing an exclusive story.

The Times concentrates on the issue of adoption.

It carries front page pictures of the likes of Steve Jobs, Debbie Harry and Kate Adie, all of whom were adopted. The paper asks - why won't Britain make it easier for willing couples to care for needy children?

The paper carries an extensive report into the state of adoption services, by the former chief executive of Barnardo's, Martin Narey. He recommends a complete overhaul of the "hopelessly slow" and failing system that leaves children languishing in care.

Hot and Cole?

Elsewhere, there is a lot of interest in the apparently rekindled relationship between Cheryl and Ashley Cole. But there is not a lot of enthusiasm for the move. The Daily Express says Cheryl may be throwing good love after bad, the Sun says 58% of its readers are convinced that Ashley doesn't deserve her, while the Mail headline simply urges - don't take the rat back.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports on the sandwich tin that stays tasty for a fortnight.

As the paper notes, most bought sandwiches barely last 12 hours - you have to eat them on the day of purchase.

All the usual flavours are available in the new long-life sandwich - chicken and bacon, cheese and onion. Lettuce and tomato are out, because they go soggy.

Apparently the secret is something called 'gas flushing', which preserves the sandwich for 14 days.

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