Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Bribes and rejected love tokens

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Not unlike Stormont, there is little sign of agreement in Wednesday's papers as the four biggest dailies lead with very different stories.

The Belfast Telegraph speculates that one of Northern Ireland's biggest firms could shift most of its operations to Great Britain, because of Brexit.

Meat processer, Dunbia, employs more than 1,000 people in its NI plants.

The paper understands management is concerned about the possibility of delays at local ports, post-Brexit.

On its inside pages, the paper boasts another exclusive over a Civil Service investigation into allegations of bribery at MoT centres.

It quotes an anonymous County Antrim businessman who claims "public safety is at risk" and alleges that even vehicles with faulty brakes can receive an MoT "pass for cash".

Police investigating the claims arrested a 64-year-old man in Ballymena last month, who was later released on bail pending further inquiries.

Good Friday disagreement?

A photograph of an empty Great Hall takes up much of the front page of the Irish News - is a dormant Stormont a sign of things to come?

A pause in the talks for the Easter weekend has avoided the embarrassment of a Good Friday Disagreement, 19 years after the original peace accord.

The paper notes that Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is "quite relaxed" about extending the talks and appeared to suggest power-sharing could be restored without agreement on how to deal with Troubles legacy cases.

However, such a situation would be considered "unforgivable," by the campaign group Relatives for Justice.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Gerry Adams appeared to have softened Sinn Féin's line on legacy cases, according to the Irish News

Troubles victims are not the only people whose lives are on hold while the folks on the hill take their sweet time about sorting out their differences.

Child abuse survivors were told they were in line for state compensation, following the findings of the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry in January.

The Irish News and other papers carry a statement from campaigner Margaret McGuckin, who said she fears many victims could face death of financial ruin before the payments are sorted out.

"Many have been left in debt, buying things on credit on the understanding they were to be compensated," she said, adding her campaign group was "ashamed of our government for not getting itself together".

Image caption Margaret McGuckin called on politicians to protect 'vulnerable' victims of child abuse

The News Letter leads with reaction to Tuesday's BBC Panoroma documentary on Stakeknife - the Belfast man alleged to have been the Army's top spy inside the IRA.

The programme said that in order to protect one of their most important intelligence assets, the security forces failed to protect other police informers who were murdered by the IRA.

However, a former senior police officer defended the actions of the intelligence services and said infiltrating the IRA had saved "thousands of lives" during the Troubles.

Ex-RUC Special Branch office Alan McQuillan told the paper it was important to remember the pressure staff were under when life-or-death decisions were being made.

'Nonsense on stilts'

A bitter row between former Ulster Rugby player Simon Danielli and his estranged wife, Olivia, makes the front page of most of the papers in some shape or form.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Olivia and Simon Danielli have both been fined within the last month after taking each other to court

"What a ruckus," the Daily Mirror's headline exclaims, as it reports on how Mrs Danielli was fined £500 for damaging a Jaguar car at the player's home in Holywood, County Down, in a row over "babysitting".

The 29-year-old model's weapon of choice was an umbrella, which she used to smash a wing mirror of the vehicle in a case the judge described as "nonsense on stilts".

Romance is in the air in another part of County Down but not everyone is feeling the love, according to the Irish News.

The paper carries a photograph of a heart-shaped sign that has appeared on the slopes of Slieve Comedagh in the Mourne Mountains.

Shot through with Cupid's arrow, it is engraved with the words: "Jay + Lisa, she said yes here on 4.3.17."

Lisa may have said yes but the powers that be have firmly said no to the "proliferation" of signs and memorials on the Mournes.

The paper reports that such displays of affection are causing dismay among regular visitors who come to the beauty spot to "get away from it all".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cupid was off target in one of Northern Ireland's most loved beauty spots

The chief executive of the Mourne Heritage Trust told the Irish News that the sign has since been removed.

"We will put it in safekeeping here and then put out an appeal via social media for the owners to retrieve it," Martin Carey added.

So who are Jay and Lisa? Get in touch - we wanna know!