Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Humble pie, RHI and birthday joy

Daily Mirror front page
Image caption The BBC Crimewatch appeal over the shooting of a police officer in Belfast features in the Daily Mirror
News Letter front page
Image caption The DUP are in focus on the front page of the News Letter

There is more food for thought for the DUP on the front page of The News Letter as Ian Paisley delivers his opinions on the way forward for the party.

The North Antrim MP says he believes a new skill set is needed to deal with the current issues facing Northern Ireland and that the menu could do with "perhaps a bit of humble pie being served up and eaten".

He says he thinks DUP leader Arlene Foster has a "strong support base" but that she has to "answer some very tough questions".

Mrs Foster makes a plea for unionist unity in the Belfast Telegraph as both her and Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill get the opportunity to outline their hopes and concerns in separate articles.

She says there is a responsibility on all unionists and that her party must "reflect on what we can do to remove barriers from people voting for us".

Mrs O'Neill tells the paper "it is in our strategic interests to have power sharing restored, but only on the correct basis". She says that without a "fundamental change in the approach of the British government, there can be no progress".

As well as Arlene Foster's dismissal of a revolt in the DUP ranks, the Irish News reports again on the health of Martin McGuinness and the thoughts of Presbyterian clergyman David Latimer.

Dr Latimer says he has texted a copy of a prayer for hope to Mr McGuinness, who has spent two weeks in Altnagelvin Hospital, and the paper says Sinn Féin has denied he is suffering from a genetic condition.

Birthday celebration

The Irish News also says an update on the progress of the public inquiry into the botched Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (RHI) is expected in the coming days.

A spokesperson for the inquiry said its website will go live "by the end of this week" and that Sir Patrick Coghlin, the judge chairing the probe, will provide details on how it will proceed.

The BBC Crimewatch appeal by a police officer shot during an attack at a petrol station in north Belfast in January makes the front page of the Daily Mirror.

'Get deadly AK47 off our streets" is the headline, with the constable who was injured in the Crumlin Road attack saying he is sure he will meet the people who shot him when he returns to duty.

"My priority is to be fit enough to get back to work and keep people as safe as I can," he says. "In the meantime, I would ask everyone to search their consciences and if they have the slightest inkling about who was involved in trying to kill me, then please come forward."

Image caption Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill is also in the headlines

The Mirror also covers the Independent Financial Review Panel (IFRP) letter to Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire asking that all payments to MLAs should be limited to a three-month period if direct rule becomes necessary.

The News Letter reports that Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill admits he would be "tempted" if Premier League champions Leicester City came calling following the departure of their Italian boss Claudio Ranieri.

"You have to consider these things if the opportunity is presented to you," O'Neill said. "I don't think you can ever say 'no' in football but equally I'm not actively looking for another job."

Meanwhile, anyone who has had their fill of election coverage over the last week, will empathise with 108-year-old Ellie Lawther who is pictured celebrating her latest birthday in the Belfast Telegraph.

Ellie, residing at St Finnian's House on the Cregagh Road in east Belfast, is believed to be the oldest person living in Northern Ireland.

But House manager Geraldine Maguire said that despite the great-grandmother's interest in current events, she could only take so much.

"On the voting, she said she was tired listening about it," Ms Maguire added.