Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's newspapers.

A "thumbs up" for Stormont from one local paper, after the plan for government is unveiled. "Kapow" says the Belfast Telegraph, with the first and deputy first minister depicted as Batman and Robin by cartoonist Stevie Lee.

"This plan may actually work!" is the opinion, as the paper's political editor assesses the 12 key pledges.

The Irish News says that the first minister has acknowledged that he and his colleagues will be "judged on their ability to deliver" or as the "man on the street" might put it, "I'll believe it when I see it."

The News Letter also takes a cautious approach to the plan, saying that Stormont "only makes a rod for its own back, by spinning about the gain, while hiding the financial pain." And it also carries a platform piece by the first minister saying that the plan for government does not represent the views of one party, but is a "compromise and combination of the wishes of all".

And a political cartoon on the front of the Irish Times this morning as well. It's a "quango cull" in progress says the paper, with the saving of 2bn euros by 2015 the object, but also speculation that there won't be a euro by 2015.

And the Irish Independent says that Taoiseach Enda Kenny was embarrassed last night, after EU officials were said to have leaked details of Ireland's budget preparations to Germany.

The paper's editorial also analyses the situation in mainland Europe since World War Two and says that the post-war Franco-German alliance is now coming under "unprecedented strain" and that the entire project is now in "mortal danger".

The Irish Times refers to the so-called "leak" in Berlin and says that the government in the Republic has complained to the European Commission after "confidential" details of new taxes were shown to the finance committee of the Bundestag. Enda Kenny said last night he had "no idea" how this had happened.

Water worries

And David Cameron is en route to Berlin, via Brussels. And more leaks, it seems, this time from Germany, according to the Daily Telegraph. The Germans, it says, have drawn up plans to prevent a British referendum on the overhaul of the European Union.

The paper says Chancellor Merkel will tell the Prime Minister to rule out a popular vote here. And eurozone "contagion" threatening to spread to Spain and France, but it's infection of a different kind in the headlines in the Independent.

The world is being driven towards the "unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections", experts are warning, because of the spread of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

But the Daily Express has another anxiety. "Water is not healthy," is the latest ruling from the EU or "bizarre diktat" as the Express terms it. The claim that drinking water regularly is the best way to rehydrate the body is disputed.

And finally, how many leprechauns does it take to beat a world record? 262, apparently, according to the Guardian, as people in Dublin yesterday dressed up to break a world record as part of the Guinness World Record Day.

Australia went for the most Abba impersonators - 368 Dancing Queens. And a man in New Zealand broke the champagne cork spitting contest with a 7.1m effort.

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