Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at the morning papers.

The Belfast Telegraph believes some questions remain unanswered about the pseudomonas outbreak at the Royal Maternity Hospital.

They include: Why were hospitals around Northern Ireland not alerted to the fact that a baby had died in Altnagelvin in December?

The paper also wants to know why taps and pipes are not routinely screened for infection when they are a well-known breeding ground for pseudomonas.

It comments that those who have suffered the loss of their babies will rightly demand a fuller explanation of the chain of events and the way the authorities responded to them. The story also makes the lead in the Mirror.

The News Letter leads with a declaration by the Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott that his party is "not for sale", as speculation continues about the idea of a merger with the DUP.

The paper itself believes there is very little to separate the two parties and some kind of unionist unity is needed.

For the Irish News, the big story is taken from the High Court, where an award-winning social worker won more than £20,000 in damages over a campaign of sectarian harassment by her colleagues.

In Dublin, there is some good economic news for a change.

The Irish Times leads with the fact that the Republic's borrowing costs have fallen significantly for the first time since the bailout in November 2010.

At the same time, it says, the government is engaged in talks with the EU about reducing the interest bill on its borrowings.

But it is a familiar story in the Irish Independent as it reports that families will have to pay 800 euros more each year for private health insurance.

It suggests that up to 100,000 people will ditch their private cover this year, putting more strain on the health service.

Also on the paper's front page is the news that two Irish short films, The Shore and Pentecost are among this year's Oscar nominations.


Morals are the subject of a couple of main headlines in London.

The Independent reports on a new study which indicates that the UK is facing what it calls a boom in dishonesty.

At the same time, it says, trust in government and business leaders has fallen to a new low.

Apparently things like lying, having an affair and buying stolen goods are more acceptable to people than they were a decade ago.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, launches an attack in the Daily Mail on the bishops who are trying to derail the government's £26,000 benefit cap.

He says the benefits system is rewarding "fecklessness and irresponsibility", while the greatest moral scandal facing the country is the £1 trillion national debt.

The Daily Telegraph also leads with the record level of debt.

Finally, a notoriously strict dress code gets an update for the 21st century.

The Disney corporation has a long list of rules about the appearance of its staff.

But as the Times and the Guardian report, beards are to be allowed after being banned for 60 years.

The only catch is that they must be less than a quarter of an inch long.

The Guardian points out that tattoos, body piercings and extreme hairstyles are still outlawed.

Also remaining on the banned list are soul patches, which the paper defines as those small patches of fuzz trapped between the bottom lip and the chin.

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