Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at the Friday morning papers...

Thursday night's rally of support for Martin McGuinness is examined in several papers. Presbyterian minister, the Reverend David Latimer, is in the headlines in the News Letter, as he was on the platform for the rally at Free Derry corner in support of Mr McGuinness.

The minister said that he was convinced that the path of support he's on for the deputy first minister's Irish presidential bid is the path "chosen for him by God."

In the Irish News, the paper focuses on Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Canny, who was also on the platform, but he said he was not there to campaign on behalf of Mr McGuinness, but just "to wish him well."

In the Belfast Telegraph, political editor Liam Clarke examines Mr McGuinness' past, particularly the claim that he was never in the IRA after 1974. He cites the ITV Cook Report programme, screened in 1993, which produced witnesses who seemed to disprove that claim.

And motoring matters in the headlines this morning. The possible 80mph speed limit on motorways in the rest of the UK is reported in the Daily Mirror, Sun, Daily Telegraph and the Independent.

The transport secretary is expected to announce his plans to up the limit at the Conservative party conference next week. Philip Hammond says it's time to put Britain "back in the fast lane." But it's a bit too literal for some, with safety campaigners generally not in favour of the increase.

The Guardian says that campaigners have been "horrified" by the plan, which will also use more fuel. Going 10mph faster could also cause 20 per cent more emissions.

In the Irish Times a new idea from Europe is unveiled - the vehicle "alco-lock". MEPs adopted a report on Wednesday for the safety device to be made mandatory in new cars. It would lock the ignition, if drivers were over the limit.

Meanwhile, the Independent reports that the iconic old cars in Havana may be on their way out. The 'make-do and mend' Pontiacs and Motown monsters from the 1950s are finally being parked up. Some are too thirsty, others have "rusted to death" or have been shouldered out by Mexican-built imports.

The jailing of medical staff in Bahrain has been denounced. They treated injured protesters during anti-government demonstrations. The Times reports that the trial of 20 doctors and nurses has provoked international condemnation and says that it "made a mockery of justice".

And a commentary piece says that the west "is an impotent bystander" in the affair. The Guardian reports that the jail sentences of up to 15 years imposed by a military court were described by Amnesty International as "ludicrous".

And finally, the call of the not-so-sleepy koala. When we think of the cute little koala bear, we often think of it asleep in the branches of eucalyptus trees Down Under, but beware when they are courting a mate.

Apparently, they can roar as loudly as an elephant or a bear. The Sun reports on research in Vienna, which shows that koalas have a voice box deeper in their throats, like a male baritone, which impresses females.

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