Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Thursday's newspapers.

The Irish News has more revelations about a police officer's missing phone that is in the hands of dissident republicans. It reports that the PSNI has warned 13 officers that their personal security may have been compromised by information contained on the phone.

The paper says the republican group Oglaigh na hEireann claims to have had it for more than a year, but an investigation began only on Tuesday after its reporter told the police about the breach.

The Belfast Telegraph reports how a grieving father has made an impassioned plea to councils to save lives, not money, when it comes to hiring waste disposal companies.

Derek Layland's 23-year-old son David was killed on a landfill site four years ago. Mr Layland told Belfast City Council that his family's lives had been destroyed by what happened.

The News Letter leads with the words of Lord Trimble, who questions Peter Robinson's efforts to embark on a more liberal agenda.

He doubts whether the first minister will be able to bring the rest of his party with him. And he suggests that Mr Robinson's moves are aimed at wooing liberal Protestants rather than Catholics.

A tragic story dominates the front pages in Dublin. Melanie McCarthy-McNamara became the youngest victim of the city's gangland killings when she was shot in the head as she sat in a car on Tuesday night.

The Irish Times reports on the belief of detectives that the 16-year-old's boyfriend was the intended target.

The Irish Independent quotes her aunt, who describes her as an "innocent child who wasn't involved in anything". The paper comments that even by the "appalling standards" of gangland murder, this was truly shocking.

In London, it is one of those days when sport moves from the back pages to the front. A picture of Fabio Capello appears on virtually every front page, in most cases accompanied by a photograph of Harry Redknapp, who is one of the favourites to take over the job of England manager, after his acquittal on tax evasion charges.

He is described by the Daily Mail as "Harry Houdini". The Times notes that betting has now been suspended on the prospect of Mr Redknapp taking the top job in English football.

The Mirror does not regret Fabio Capello's departure. It says he should have been shown the red card two years ago.

There are also many questions about the court case. The Times comments that it was the latest in a line of poor judgements by HM Revenue and Customs.

The Guardian wonders why a case costing millions of pounds was taken in the first place, when there have been no prosecutions of the bankers and the traders, some of whose activities have impoverished the nation.

And finally, the comedian Tim Vine wins yet another funniest joke award. As the Daily Telegraph reports, he has won so many comedy prizes, he has cemented his reputation as king of the one-liner. This year's winner is: Conjunctivitis dot com - now there's a site for sore eyes.

But it could be argued that some of the runners-up were equally good. Matt Kirshen was nominated for his effort, which goes as follows: I was playing chess with my friend and he said "let's make this more interesting". So we stopped playing chess.

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