Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Deadline day is upon us

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

We may be in for another fine day weather-wise, but things are looking far from sunny on the politics front.

It's deadline day up at Stormont, but talks have already ground to a halt, with Sinn Féin announcing on Sunday that it did not intend to nominate a deputy first minister.

The front pages of the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and the News Letter are all dominated by politics - and a fair bit of mud-slinging with each of the two main parties blaming the other for the lack of agreement.

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Image caption Sinn Féin announced on Sunday that talks had "run their course"

"Stormont in limbo as SF walks away," is the Belfast Telegraph's headline, with the paper asserting that the future of power-sharing had been "plunged into limbo by Sinn Féin".

The paper quotes DUP leader Arlene Foster, who said on Sunday there was little to suggest that her former partners in government, Sinn Féin, wanted to reach an agreement.

Inside, political commentator Alex Kane writes that Sinn Féin could be on its way to what he says is its preferred option - a period of joint-British-Irish rule.

"There has been speculation that Sinn Féin has been thinking beyond an Assembly and calculating that a British-Irish agreement - something akin to de facto joint sovereignty - would be more useful in terms of advancing its own agenda," he says.

But Mr Kane also points to doubt over whether the British and Irish governments would be keen on taking responsibility for the political "mess" that is Northern Ireland and warns that Sinn Féin "could bring the final collapse of Stormont".

'Shambolic'

The News Letter leads its news offering with the front-page headline: "Recrimination as SF says no deal possible."

"Last ditch efforts to get the Stormont Assembly up and running have foundered catastrophically, with the DUP and Sinn Féin blaming one another," it says.

"The DUP charged the republican party with refusing to attend all-party sessions, while Sinn Féin claimed their former DUP partners in government (and both the UK and Irish governments) had failed to step up to the plate."

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Image caption Alliance Party leader Naomi Long used her party's spring conference to express her disappointment that an agreement had not been reached

The paper then turns to a third voice, that of Ulster Unionist Party MP, Tom Elliott, who says the talks were "simply the worst".

He said the talks were "shambolic" and lacked structure.

Inside, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood says the DUP have failed to "heed the public's message".

He says the failure of the talks was down to the party's not being able to "engage in creative compromise on key elements of former agreements".

'Brexit plan'

We also hear from Alliance Party leader, Naomi Long, who says fresh elections are a "vanity project".

"However, it is more serious than just a waste of time," she said at the party's annual conference on Saturday.

"We are days away from the end of the financial year yet we have no budget.

"We are days away from the triggering of Brexit, yet we have no Brexit plan."

The Irish News chooses to focus squarely on the issue of the Stormont purse strings as many will be asking 'what now?' for spending on key public services.

It says senior civil servants will implement a budget within days, with David Sterling formally taking control of the finances on Wednesday.

Moving away from politics, the Irish News carries a full-page story about a campaign to get nebulisers installed in schools.

Donna and Stephen Green, whose son Tiernan died of an asthma attack in January, have raised enough money to get the life-saving equipment into 25 schools.

Mr Green told the Irish News: "If we can save one life, it will help us."

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Image caption Snow Patrol hope to have a new record out this year

There's good news for Snow Patrol fans in the Belfast Telegraph, with the band announcing a new album is on the way - six years after the band's last offering.

Front man Gary Lightbody, from County Down, said the album would be finished by June and said he was looking forward to getting some new music out after a few "false starts".