Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's newspapers.

Two sporting schoolboy victories are celebrated on the local front pages. Both theBelfast Telegraphand theNews Letterfeature Methody's win in the Schools' Cup at Ravenhill, while theIrish Newsshows some equally happy faces from St Michael's College Enniskillen, after they lifted the MacRory Cup in Armagh.

The Telegraph says that schools' cup final days in rugby and GAA always provide a colourful pageant and a great day away from the classroom.

The main story in the Irish News is Environment Minister Alex Attwood's decision to block plans for four new apartment blocks in west Belfast, dubbed Divis Flats Mark 2.

As the paper reminds us, the original Divis Flats became a byword for health and social problems and were demolished following a long-running campaign. The new project was rejected because of its "excessive scale".

And First Minister Peter Robinson has told members of the RUC Athletic Association that they should not be "strong-armed" into renaming the association because of funding threats. That's the lead in the News Letter, which says Mr Robinson's intervention echoes his move to block the removal of the royal insignia from the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Elsewhere, several papers report on the huge manhunt in southern France. French police are hunting a serial killer after three children and a teacher were shot dead outside their Jewish school yesterday, some with the same gun linked to the murders of three soldiers last week.

This is the lead story in theIrish Times, which reports that the terror alert has been raised to the highest level in that part of France. The London Times says that the motive for the murders was unclear, but police speculated that the killer was either an Islamic radical or an ultra-right extremist.

There is plenty of debate about Wednesday's budget. The Chancellor's plan to abolish Child Benefit for higher rate tax payers is getting theDaily Mailexercised.

The paper describes it as "a monstrous betrayal of hundreds of thousands of families". Warming to its theme, it says that "stay-at-home mothers - who embody the Tory ideal for bringing up the next generation - will be hardest hit of all".

The Mail says that if the Chancellor can't find a fair way to cut the benefit, he shouldn't do it at all.

There are encouraging reports, in some papers, on the progress of footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the pitch with a cardiac arrest on Saturday. According to theSunand theMirror, he woke up and asked for his son, Joshua.

And there is extensive coverage - in the red-tops, as well as theDaily Telegraphand theTimes- of a blue dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, if you're interested in that kind of thing.

It turns out the dress belongs to her mum, which leads to theDaily Expressstyling her "thrifty Kate".

And finally, the Irish Times has a history of Ireland in 100 insults. Frank McNally started this list in the Irishman's Diary column, and now it's continuing in the letters page. They are up to 155 in the list of insults. Some choice examples today.

Number 143: "I wouldn't put her in charge of a haggard of sparrows".

And number 152: "She has a face like a plateful of mortal sins".

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