Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Thursday's newspapers.

The Cloyne report and its implications for the Catholic Church provide the main talking points for most of the papers in Belfast and Dublin.

"Inadequate, inappropriate, ineffective and entirely unhelpful" is how an Irish Times headline sums up the report's assessment of the church's response to child abuse allegations.

The Irish News says the report has "shamed" the Newry-born bishop John Magee.

That's a view shared by the Belfast Telegraph, which says his reputation "lies in tatters".

The Irish Independent reports on the response by the Irish government, and says priests will in future be liable to a jail sentence of up to five years if they fail to report paedophiles to gardai - even if they learn the information in the confessional.

The paper comments that the catholic Church has not yet purged itself. And until it admits that it was guilty of putting itself before morality and justice, it will remain a tainted and hobbled institution in Ireland, as it is elsewhere.

The News Letter focuses instead on the recent rioting in north Belfast, and reports that MP Nigel Dodds has called on the police to confirm that republicans were responsible - in the same way as loyalists were blamed for disorder in the east of the city. Mr Dodds is quoted as saying that the violence was orchestrated, because petrol bombs don't just suddenly appear on the street.

"Spell broken"

The local edition of the Daily Mirror devotes its biggest headline to the news that the TV chef Paul Rankin and his wife Jeanne are to separate after 25 years of marriage. The paper describes the split as "amicable". The story also turns up on the front of the Belfast Telegraph.

Quite a few of the papers agree that yesterday was a defining moment in British politics. At the start of this month, says the Guardian, no senior politician dared to defy Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday, all of them did, "and the spell has been broken".

That's a view echoed in the Financial Times. Less than two weeks ago, it says, hundreds of MPs were enthusiastic representatives of what it calls "Murdochshire Central". Now, there's not one.

Steve Richards in the Independent comments that we need to know more, not just about media empires but about the activities of bankers, powerful business leaders, senior civil servants and the police. This is a story about who runs Britain, he says. And as the light is shone, we discover horrors.

Finally, the story of a man who has won the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head for his driving licence photograph. Niko Alm has had a running battle with the authorities in Austria over the right to wear a colander as headgear for official pictures. He calls himself a "pastafarian" and is a founder member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which campaigns against the teaching of creationism in schools.

As the Daily Telegraph points out, the delicious irony of the story is that he won the right to wear the pasta strainer on the grounds of religious freedom.