Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Loughgall 30 years on and NI heatwave

Loughgall supplement Image copyright News Letter

The 30th anniversary of the killings of eight IRA men and a civilian by the SAS is given widespread coverage in both the News Letter and Irish News on Monday.

The IRA unit was killed as they attacked a police station in the County Armagh village of Loughgall.

"Loughgall: The inside story" is the front page of the Irish News, while the News Letter has an eight-page supplement on the killings.

The Irish News has an interview with "Scout One", an IRA man it says escaped the ambush.

He tells the paper that after a sustained period of gunfire, he knew something was "badly wrong" when he saw an Army helicopter.

Scout One says that he and a fellow IRA man drove into the village and were quickly surrounded by SAS soldiers who trained their guns on their car.

He says he could see the bodies of some of the IRA men who were killed and believes he was allowed to leave the scene because there was an elderly couple in a car behind them.

The News Letter describes Loughgall as the "SAS mission that told the IRA they could never win".

Inside, author and former RUC Special Branch detective Dr William Matchett says that the IRA unit at Loughgall "contained the IRA's top killers" whose cross-border murder spree "threatened to plunge Northern Ireland into a sectarian civil war".

He says they "were intoxicated by republican myths and had lost touch with reality".

Former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre tells the paper that there was initially cheering in the IRA wings of the Maze when news came in of heavy casualties in an attack at a police station in County Armagh.

The next morning the wing was "a sombre, sombre place" and he says there was "a real sense of despondency, despair, grief and anger".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Eight IRA men and a civilian were killed by the SAS at Loughgall

The paper also has a piece written by Mairead Kelly, the sister of one of the IRA men who was killed.

Scorching Northern Ireland

Next month's general election is the lead story in the Belfast Telegraph.

It says Emma Little-Pengelly is to stand for the DUP in South Belfast, while the Ulster Unionist Party has not revealed whether it will put forward a candidate in the constituency.

Staying with political matters, the paper says Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is preparing to hand over leadership of the party to his deputy, Mary Lou McDonald.

The paper also has the story of Belfast charity worker Katy Skelton, who returned from a visit to Cave Hill last week to find that her Mini car had been flipped onto its roof by "yobs".

She said it took police more than five hours to arrive at the scene - a laneway off the Antrim Road.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption It's just like the Med - Northern Ireland has been basking in the sun

We've all been enjoying the recent spell of rare sunshine here and the Telegraph says that Northern Ireland was hotter that the Mediterranean at the weekend.

Temperatures reached "a scorching" 20 degrees in Armagh, compared to 19C in Nice and Rome and a chilly 17C in Barcelona.

Shark tale

Monsters of the deep feature in the Daily Mirror, as a fisherman tells the paper of his 90-minute struggle with a 25ft long shark off the coast of County Clare.

Ben Bond from Somerset brought the estimated 107-stone sixgill to the surface, but it was impossible to pull it on board the boat.

"I wouldn't have wanted to to go into the water after it," he tells the paper.

Bovine moo-vie star

Finally, the Belfast Telegraph carries the story of Northern Ireland's most unlikely social media star.

Echo, a heifer from County Down, has racked up more than 300,000 views on Facebook, showing her preparations for this week's Balmoral Show.

She's a real moo-vie star - the top of her field.