Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at the morning papers.

Could we be due an American presidential visit?

That is the speculation in the Daily Mirror, anyway. It reports that Barack Obama may visit Belfast for Titanic's centenary commemoration.

Oddly, the paper writes of the marking of the sinking of the ship on its maiden voyage, when over 1,500 people died, as being "set to be the biggest celebration in Northern Ireland's history" and a "great" PR opportunity for President Obama.

The Sun leads with the call for a full inquiry from the bereaved parents of one baby boy who died from pseudomonas in Altnagelvin hospital.

His father Gavin Burke believes questions need answered about that death and the other three babies who died in Belfast.

And sport has moved to the front pages.

The Irish News quotes Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. He slams as "outlandish" the notion of segregating fans of Crossmaglen Rangers from their County Kerry counterparts at the All-Ireland senior club semi-final in February.

That follows what the paper dubs "a mass brawl" last Sunday, when Tyrone's Derrytresk team met another Kerry team.

The News Letter focuses on reaction to the Munster Ulster rugby quarter final - scheduled for Easter Sunday.

The former Presbyterian Moderator Dr Stafford Carson says he and many others will not be attending on what he calls "the most important day in the religious calendar".

And the "Catholic school where half the pupils are Protestants" is the headline in the Belfast Telegraph, with a special feature on St Columbanus College in Bangor.

'Mad borrowing'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is under fire in the Irish Republic for his analysis of the financial situation.

The Irish Independent contrasts his speech on Thursday, that "people simply went mad borrowing", with his words at the beginning of December, when he said that they were "not responsible for the crisis".

Mr Kenny made his remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Irish Times also leads on those remarks and the difference in the Taoiseach's approach to the economy at home and abroad.

But the Swiss ski resort was Cameron territory yesterday, according to the English papers. The Guardian reports it was "like Westminster in the mountains".

The Independent dubs the prime minister's call for bold leadership as "a blistering message", aimed at the German chancellor.

It says that "hair shirts" mixed with "the tailored variety" at Davos and that "frugality and philanthropy are the key themes for the super-rich this year".

But it also notes that helicopter hiring was doing "decent business". It costs between $5,000 and $9,000 to fly from Davos to Zurich airport. And that depends on whether you want a single or a double engine.

But how do you pay your bills? Is cash in hand an option?

Not according to a senior taxman. The permanent secretary for tax has told the Daily Telegraph that if you hand over cash to a tradesman, you are "diddling the country".

Dave Hartnett says that people have a duty to ensure that others do not evade paying their share of tax and it diverts money from hospitals and schools.

He is encouraging anyone suspecting wrongdoing to become a whistle blower.

And finally, an alert for all the dancing queens.

That is, according to the Daily Mail, because Abba are releasing a "lost song". The Swedish band recorded it 30 years ago, but it lay forgotten in a back room of a studio, it is said.

And the catchy title is Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel.

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