Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories

Newspapers

Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at the morning papers.

There are only two days to go till Christmas, with millions still to be spent by shoppers, it seems.

A "Friday frenzy" is coming up says the Belfast Telegraph, predicting a "£50m splurge" in Northern Ireland. That is £38m on cards and £12m in cash, according to economist John Simpson, especially with many sales discounts already in place for last-minute gift buyers.

And a smiling Darren Clarke, sharply-suited sons Conor and Tyrone and Darren's fiancee Alison Campbell feature on the front of the News Letter, after the popular Dungannon man was voted runner-up for BBC Sports Personality.

But the lead is about the conviction of 26 protesters, who were objecting to an Orange Order parade in Ardoyne last summer. The protests were said to be the match that "lit the fuse" of the rioting that followed.

The Irish News leads on a court case featuring two teenage women jailed for a sectarian attack on Caitrona Ruane's personal assistant, Noeleen McPolin, a senior Sinn Fein member.

But the paper also has a sad seasonal story, with a Derry priest inviting a homeless man in for a cup of tea. He says he felt "Christ had come into his home at Christmas," but the man made off with money from his office.

Happier Christmas tales are the theme in the Dublin papers.

Exiles' return

The returning "new emigrants" is what the Irish Times is calling them and they were met with "banners, babies and bouquets" at Dublin airport. Sons - in particular - returning from Australia were mobbed by siblings and parents. Others, forced to emigrate for work, were returning from South Africa. Over the festive fortnight, 620,000 arrivals and departures are expected at the airport.

And in case you are already contemplating the future of your Christmas tree, what about the first ever Irish Christmas tree-throwing championship?

It will take place in Ennis on 7 January, straight after Twelfth Night and is commonplace across Germany and Austria, says the Irish Independent . It is in aid of charity, is followed by recycling and the current record is held by Klaus Pubnaz, who hurled a tree 12 metres.

There is a seasonal note to the picture on the front of the Times.

But which season? It is a girl paddling in the sea, with a fishing net, in the warm weather in north Yorkshire.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, sunshine all the way," says the paper, one year after their town was hit by a blizzard.

'Credit due'

There is some happy festive news too, as the government bans excessive surcharges on payments by credit and debit card. It is the lead in many of the papers. The Daily Mail calls it the "end of internet shopping rip-off".

The Sun says "credit where it is due" but asks why we have to wait till the end of next year, before it takes effect.

A number of the papers look at the cost of Christmas dinner.

The Guardian says it is the "season to be jolly, if you can afford it". It is up by 7.5% on last year and have a look at what you offer with your cheeseboard. Cream crackers are up by 51%. Oatcakes are much tastier.

And finally, some of our listeners may still be in bed, but which side, that is crucial.

There really may be a wrong side of the bed, according to the Daily Telegraph. If you want to get ahead, pick the right side of the bed.

But the "right" side is the left, because those who sleep on the right are more likely to wake up grumpy. Left-hand siders have more confidence and are also consistently more cheerful.

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