Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


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

A tragic story is the subject of the biggest headline in the News Letter.

It is the story of 88-year-old William Barbour, who suffocated his wife Anne at their home in Enniskillen and then drowned himself in a nearby lake. An inquest heard how Mrs Barbour had suffered from dementia, which had worsened in the six months before her death two years ago.

The paper quotes from a note Mr Barbour left behind. One line reads simply: "We lived too long."

The Belfast Telegraph leads with the news that more than 500 serious mistakes were discovered in Northern Ireland's hospitals in just two years. According to the paper, some of them led to the deaths of patients. It highlights one instance of a patient who was supposed to be supervised during a cigarette break, but was found on fire by a hospital visitor.

The Irish News reports under its main headline that leading Catholic grammar schools are preparing to defy the Church and continue testing children at the age of 11. It says that at least two will defy the Church's attempts to end academic selection and others are likely to follow suit.

In Dublin, the presidential election is the big talking point, on the closing day for nominations.

The Irish Independent focuses on Senator David Norris's return to the contest, but it says his spectacular comeback was overshadowed by new demands to publish controversial letters he wrote on behalf of his former lover.

Seven in race

The Irish Times reports that a record seven candidates are now in the race, and says the decision of Dublin City Council to support Senator Norris came at the eleventh hour. The paper also has a picture of Dana, Rosemary Scallon, visiting a hair salon in Mullingar as news of her nomination came through. She told potential voters that, if elected, she would be " a president for all the people".

Ed Miliband is the man of the moment in London.

His address to the Labour conference is assessed on both front and inside pages. The Guardian says he declared war against what it calls "fast buck capitalism". Its columnist Polly Toynbee says Mr Miliband is no orator, but he showed himself to be a leader with a sense of purpose.

The Independent says he told his party: "I'll do it my way." But its commentator Matthew Norman remarks that he could have said anything. The fact is, he says, no-one was listening.

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail says that in X-Factor terms, he does not yet look like a winner, but he is through to boot camp.

Kevin Maguire in the Daily Mirror comments that "he put decency back on the agenda".

And finally, Rihanna has certainly put Northern Ireland on the map.

All the papers love the story of the pop star being told to cover up by a Bangor farmer and DUP councillor. A picture of her takes up much of the front page in the Daily Telegraph, looking demure in an oversized shirt.

But the Sun has a picture showing her wearing a lot less while filming a video on Alan Graham's farm. The Guardian reports how Councillor Graham had helped the film crew pull some of their recording equipment out of the mud before his now famous dressing-down for one of the world's biggest stars.

The Mirror has the headline of the morning: "Kit Off My Land".

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