Northern Ireland

Sealing the deal; wise words from Kenny Rogers and storing up bonfire trouble

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

We live in important times and the Belfast Telegraph is feeling the hand of history on its shoulder - with several pages devoted to the DUP deal and the party's sudden rise to prominence.

"DUP's day to make history," the paper proclaims with a picture of leader Arlene Foster and deputy Nigel Dodds at the iconic door of No 10.

The paper says Mrs Foster is poised to sign a historic deal with Prime Minister Theresa May that will put the DUP centre stage at Westminster.

Inside, the paper says the DUP will be "at the heart of government". Its commentators are swift to comment on how a leader who faced calls to quit over a heating scandal is now "kingmaker" or should that be "queen maker"?

Ruth Dudley Edwards opts for a more measured and utterly British approach: "Let's all just keep calm and carry on."

And David Gordon reaches for the "immortal and profound" words of country singer Kenny Rogers to underline the importance of not overplaying your hand.

"You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the deal is done."

Politicians should know how quickly fortunes can rise and fall in their game, he writes. He issues a little warning: "There is a tendency among some in the party to swagger and bluster when things are going their way. They should know by now that doesn't always end well."

Stark horror

The Mirror does not spare readers with its front-page headline.

"Chopped up body is a woman," it proclaims, telling how walkers found a head in a plastic bag on a remote mountainside in County Wicklow.

Inside, the paper features former prime minister and "Tory grandee" John Major talking about his fears for the peace process as the DUP takes a key role in government.

"Major warns of Trouble ahead", reads the headline, close to a picture of the DUP's 10 MPs .

The Mirror has thoughtfully added a few speech bubbles, so that we have Mrs Foster saying: "The future's bright..." and Ian Paisley Jnr adding: "The future's Orange."

The News Letter carries the same front-page picture as the Belfast Telegraph - the DUP leader and deputy at the door of Downing Street - below a headline: "Let's seal the deal".

'Nearly there'

The paper says the party was, last night, "on the cusp of a deal" and it quotes the headline from the London Standard: "We are the masters now".

In his analysis, the paper's political correspondent notes that this is "no shotgun marriage" and the public relationship this week is "the culmination of much preparatory work", predating Theresa May's time in No 10. The DUP has been preparing the ground for this sort of moment for a long time, writes Sam McBride.

The paper also carries that interview with John Major warning of "Northern Ireland hard men lurking in corners".

The News Letter also quotes Sinn Féin saying it has 250,000 reasons not to go to Westminster, dismissing speculation that they could help Labour block Theresa May's Queen's Speech.

The paper quotes West Belfast MP Paul Maskey who argues that the people who voted for his party gave them a mandate not to take their seats.

Pallet probe

The Irish News opts for a front-page lead bound to raise temperatures.

It claims that Belfast City Council is storing 1,500 pallets for loyalists building bonfires for 12 July.

The paper says council vans were spotted removing the pallets from a site close to Sandy Row after "an agreement with the local community".

The Irish News has learned that the pallets are being stored and are expected to be returned in time for the Twelfth.

The paper quotes Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown who calls the plans "deeply disappointing".

"Such actions are clearly more expedient than strategic and they send the wrong message about dumping in the city," he says.

A council spokesman is also quoted, stating that no arrangements have been made for the return of the pallets back to the bonfire site.

'Preposterous balderdash'

Commentator Brian Feeney is rolling his eyes about the state of Stormont talks and the idea of Secretary of State James Brokenshire chairing them,

"It's self-evidently ridiculous, an insult to the intelligence of people here, for her (Theresa May's) re-appointed clone to propose to chair all-party meetings when the government he's in depends for its existence on one of the parties.

"C'mon. Peddling that preposterous balderdash to interviewers invites having them laugh in his face," he writes.

Finally, it is Novena time in west Belfast. The paper says the nine-day Clonard Novena draws more than 100,000 visitors every year.

The marquees are up, the toilets have been installed and the flags are flying, says the Irish News.

It quotes one of the organisers who says that everybody is welcome... of all religions and none.

God moves in mysterious ways and for those who cannot make the journey, there's always the webcam.