Northern Ireland

Newspaper headlines: Sexism storms and ships ahoy

Daily Mirror front page Image copyright Daily Mirror
News Letter front page Tuesday 4 April Image copyright News Letter

There's a sexism storm brewing in Belfast City Hall, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper says there are calls for councillor Graham Craig to apologise for remarks he made about council chief Suzanne Wylie.

During a debate on cycling, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor remarked how he occasionally saw Progressive Unionist Party councillor Dr John Kyle on his bike.

Image copyright Reuters

But he added: "And I often have the slightly greater pleasure of the chief executive whizzing past me on her bicycle in the morning which does quicken one's step slightly."

Ms Wylie, who was present for the debate, has not commented, but Mr Craig's remarks have been condemned by Alliance, SDLP and Green councillors.

In defence, the paper adds: "Video footage of the meeting shows Mr Craig smiling and making the comments in attempted good humour."

'Religious objections'

The party also features in the headline on the front page of the Irish News, which says a DUP-driven £2m community hall scheme is weighted in favour of the Protestant community.

This revelation is contained in a revised official report - known as an equality screening document - into the programme by the Department for Communities.

Image copyright Department of Communities
Image caption Paul Givan, former DUP communities minister, was photographed outside Tildarg Orange Hall as he announced the successful applicants

The Irish News says in an "unusual development", the report found the bias was "appropriate because many Protestant community groups were losing out on lottery funding as religious objections to gambling stopped them applying".

The Department for Communities told the paper it had failed to carry out a review before the scheme was launched last year, blaming an "oversight by departmental officials".

The Irish News devotes a double-page spread and an editorial to the story: "This document has raised further questions for the department which needs to make clear when the decision was taken to set this rather unusual criteria."

Buoyant Belfast

The News Letter's front page has a hopeful message from the DUP after the resumption of talks to end the political impasse at Stormont.

Party leader Arlene Foster is quoted as saying the end of April was a realistic timeframe for achieving some kind of deal to reinstate Northern Ireland's devolved government.

She described meetings with the leaders of the four other main parties as "constructive".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Cruising Belfast

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied he authorised the security services to tap the phone of the late Rev Ian Paisley when he was an MP, the Irish News reports.

It follows allegations from Lord Prescott, former deputy prime minister, that Mr Blair told him about the eavesdropping in 2005.

But Mr Blair's office insisted the story was "wrong" and suggested Lord Prescott's account may arise from a "confused" recollection of a discussion about the long-standing convention that MPs should not have their communications monitored.

Meanwhile, it's ships ahoy in the Belfast Telegraph, which reports that nearly 90 cruise ships are heading to Belfast this summer.

"It will be an unprecedented year for seafaring travellers since cruise ships first arrived in the city in 1996," the paper adds.

'One punch'

The Daily Mirror considers a spate of sudden deaths in Belfast. The paper claims police have launched an investigation into the deaths of three men on Monday but are not linking them.

"A fourth death in the city, thought to be that of a young girl, is also expected to come under scrutiny," the paper adds.

The News Letter carries a police appeal for information, particularly mobile phone footage, over the death of Paul McCready in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Paul McCready died in hospital on Sunday morning

Police have confirmed the 31-year-old was involved in an "altercation" which started in the Northern Whig pub and spilled out into the street. The paper understands his partner and younger brother were also on the night out.

The Daily Mirror reports the words of Det Supt Kevin Geddes: "Paul has two young children under 10 years of age, a partner, parents, siblings and a wider family unity who are facing a life without him.

"It really reinforces our message to enjoy your night out but please remember one punch can kill."

A 30-year-old man who was arrested at the scene remains in custody, the paper adds.