Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


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

The Belfast Telegraph claims that cash-strapped health bosses are planning to axe 65 hospital beds and cut 500 jobs across Belfast, in what the newspaper calls a "last-ditch effort to say money".

The paper says the changes will especially affect cancer patients, those needing emergency treatment, wheelchair users and children.

Inside, the paper's editorial focuses on how we deal with the past, following the row over Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson's position.

It says that Mr Hutchinson's departure won't solve the problem.

If our politicians are really serious about dealing with the legacy of the past, says the paper, they should stop sniping at each other from entirely predictable positions and move forward positively.

The Irish News claims that the Phoenix Gas chief executive is being paid £700,000 a year - while its customers face massive price hikes.

'Make history'

It says that Peter Dixon of Phoenix Gas is believed to be the north's highest-paid employee, with an income of more than 28 times the average salary.

Elsewhere, the News Letter notes that a Presbyterian minister from Londonderry will make history on Tuesday evening when he becomes the first Northern Irish Protestant to give an address at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis.

Reverend David Latimer, who was invited to speak by Martin McGuinness, will deliver the keynote speech.

As the Daily Telegraph reports, stock market turmoil wiped £49bn off the value of leading shares on Monday as fears of a double-dip recession intensified.

The Guardian says that the sharpest slowdown in Britain's services sector in a decade means that more quantitative easing could be on its way.

The Irish Times focuses on jitters over the state of the eurozone. It says that the renewed market disruption comes amid increasing anxiety about the slowdown in the recovery of the European economy.

"They've been breeding like crazy all summer," says the Daily Mail, "and now they're ready to move indoors."

'Digest prey'

Yes, it's invasion of the spiders, and the paper has the lowdown.

Not exactly reassuringly, it says that all spiders in Britain are venomous - it's the way they catch and digest their prey.

But don't worry, because most of them are harmless to us.

As for why they always seem to end up in the bath, it's probably a lonely adult male looking for a mate.

They get stuck there because the sides are too slippy for them to climb out again.

The Daily Telegraph reports an unfortunate error.

A hospital advert for a senior hospital anaesthetist was published on an NHS website. It contained the words, "the usual rubbish about equal opportunities" applies.

An enquiry has already begun into how the phrase appeared.

After the error was spotted, it was replaced with the much more emollient phrase: "We are committed to promoting equality and diversity."

Not surprisingly, the incident causes some harrumphing in the Telegraph's editorial.

It says that people are weary of politically correct platitudes and we shouldn't get hung up about such things.

Besides, it adds, anaesthetists can take care of themselves - they are, after all, in charge of the laughing gas.

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