Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

Enda Kenny features on several front pages with his State of the Nation address. 'Enda's rallying cry' - the Irish Independent headline.

The Irish News highlights his words to the public - 'You're not responsible for the crisis'.

But it points out that he's warned of a tough budget ahead. The paper notes that this was the first address of its kind for more than 30 years.

The Independent recalls the last one - 9 January, 1980, by Charles Haughey. An infamous speech, it says, in which he told the country it was living beyond its means although he continued to live like a king.

The Irish Times says you wait for a State of the Nation address and then four come along at once.

It reports that there'll be three mini-addresses by opposition leaders this evening.

This is because the government declined to describe the current situation as a major emergency so when the other parties asked for air time they got it.

Plenty of comment about how Mr Kenny did. Miriam Lord in the Irish Times says it was a good performance, far superior to his previous television outings, and his pink tie was lovely.

Different take in the Irish Independent. One commentator says he was as wooden as the panels on the wall of his office. A 'damp squib speech', it says.

A letter writer in the same paper says Mr Kenny had no need to give a State of the Nation address. Everyone in Ireland and beyond knows what state we're in, she says.

Looking at the Belfast papers and recent disagreements at Belfast City Hall are in the spotlight.

The main headline in the Belfast Telegraph - 'We can't return to the City Hall bad days'.

It says hostilities reminiscent of the 1980s "bear pit times" have erupted recently. There have been rows over the flying of the Union Flag, an Irish language sign at the City Hall and the Lord Mayor's refusal to hand an award to a teenage Army cadet.

The Telegraph says members of the public have expressed concern at the way the council is behaving.

The paper says the councillors need to grow up. The focus should be on peace and prosperity, it says, not sectarian squabbles.

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy features on the front page of the News Letter after winning the Hong Kong Open.

The cross channel papers have praise for him. A resurgent McIlroy, the Independent says, who won in emphatic style. A stunning performance, says the Times.

And another local sporting hero features widely as well. Football this time. Lots of pictures of the new Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill watching his team losing 2-1 yesterday.

The Daily Telegraph shows him talking to his number two, Steve Walford. It speculates he might be saying - 'Is it too late to change my mind?'.

In the Irish Independent - the cost of shopping and a survey on how prices in Northern Ireland compare with the Republic. And the verdict, there is not much in it.

The survey shows that there isn't the big pay-off there used to be for southern shoppers coming north. Price differences are a fraction of what they were two years ago.

But it says Tuesday's expected VAT increase in the Republic from 21% to 23 is set to widen the gap again.

Incidentally, the survey says the biggest difference in price was on a tin of McVitie's Victoria biscuits which you can get in Dundalk for 14 euros 99, but they were on special offer in Newry for £4.

Finally, the most photographed couple of the day - Sunshine and Sweetie the pandas, to give them their translated names, who were flown to Scotland on Sunday to take up residence at Edinburgh Zoo.

'Eats shoots and arrives'... the Guardian headline.

'Meet the McPandas', says the Mirror.

And the Sun - 'Black eye the noo'.

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