Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at the morning papers.

The shooting of GAA star James Hughes features in several of the papers.

It's the main story in the Belfast Telegraph, Mirror and Irish Independent, along with theories about what happened and why.

The killing features on the front page of the Irish News as well. But the main story there is another follow-up to the paper's long-running examination of the sex abuse scandal at Lissue Hospital outside Lisburn and Forster Green some years ago.

Two months ago the paper revealed the findings of a confidential report into the two hospitals.

On Monday it tells us that an alcoholic nurse at the centre of the allegations has been living in Thailand for the past six months. The paper has a picture of the nurse - his identity is concealed - with a child at an orphanage.

The paper comments that each new revelation has increased public alarm over the scandal.

'Pathetic flip-flop'

The main story in the News Letter is Peter Robinson's backing for David Cameron and what he calls his courageous veto.

Mr Robinson says the prime minister was right in his rejection of a new treaty but the News Letter also has the thoughts of Alex Salmond who has complained to Mr Cameron that Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff weren't consulted.

The London papers are full of the latest twists and turns. Nick Clegg appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday saying he was bitterly disappointed.

The Guardian calls this the "Clegg aftershock". The Sun says he has "stabbed Mr Cameron in the back". It contrasts his current position with his conditional support on Friday.

The Daily Mail calls his change of tack a "pathetic flip-flop". It wonders if he is in awe of Lib Dem grandees like Lord Ashdown and Baroness Williams.

It says they've climbed "zombie-like" from their political graves to chant mantras about the perils of disobeying Germany and France.

There is also speculation about how things will go for the PM when he appears before MPs on Monday.

The Financial Times says Mr Clegg has warned him not to be triumphalist.

But the Independent reckons the deputy prime minister will be left squirming on the front bench when Mr Cameron is cheered by his own side.


Meanwhile, the Dublin government is entering the picture, according to the Irish Times.

It says Dublin is going to launch an intensive diplomatic engagement with Britain to ensure that London is not left isolated.

The Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore says this would not be in Ireland's interest and he is expected to begin a series of meetings with London within weeks.

In the Irish Independent, commentator Bruce Arnold says - "We need to strengthen UK ties before the EU strangles us".

Elsewhere, Secretary of State Owen Patterson writes in the Belfast Telegraph.

He's meeting local church leaders in London to discuss changes to the welfare system.

His message is that no amount of tinkering will fix the problem. Only root and branch reform will work.

In other stories, the Mirror tells us criminal gangs are plundering Lough Neagh's fish stocks.

It says organised crime gangs are behind a massive rise in illegal fishing. There are currently five times more black market nets than there were two years ago.

Finally, General Noriega, the former Panama dictator, features after being flown from France to continue a lengthy jail sentence. The papers recall his crimes - murders and drug-running - and how he eventually surrendered to US troops in 1990 after seeking refuge inside Panama's Vatican Embassy.

As the Guardian reminds us, they smoked him out by blaring the Clash and Guns n Roses at him non-stop.

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