Northern Ireland

Wednesday's paper review: Jail breaks, interview tapes and bonfires

The front page of the News Letter Image copyright News Letter

After Gerry Adams's bid to overturn his convictions for attempted prison escapes emerged on Tuesday, the Sinn Féin president makes the front pages.

The jail-break bids happened when he was interned in the Maze Prison in the 1970s.

According to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Mr Adams is "living in denial".

The DUP MP tells the Belfast Telegraph that the appeals are attempts by Mr Adams to "rewrite history".

The Irish News leads with the same story, saying it is unclear why Mr Adams is now challenging the convictions.

But it reminds us that he was turned away from a St Patrick's Day event at the White House in Washington last year due to a "security issue".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Gerry Adams is "living in denial", says the DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Another chapter of Northern Ireland's Troubles is covered on the front page of the News Letter, which reports on a development in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings investigation.

After self-confessed IRA bomb-maker Michael Hayes said last week that he had been "a participant in the IRA's activities in Birmingham", the paper reports that the brother of one victim has no faith in officers to investigate the comments fully.

'Timid offering'

Twenty-one people died in the IRA attacks and Hayes told the BBC that he took "collective responsibility" for the IRA's actions.

It was revealed on Tuesday that West Midlands Police has asked the BBC for a copy of its interview with Hayes.

But Brian Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was killed in the blasts, says the police request for the BBC interview is "like a timid offering - it's lip service".

"Unfortunately, the police have no interest in the Birmingham bombers.

"I think the public at large will want [the police] to take some action."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Belfast City Council says it failed in its legal obligations over its bonfire injunction

Bonfires have been the hot topic in Northern Ireland for the past few weeks, and the embers of the debate still glow in the Irish News.

It reports that Belfast City Council admits it failed in its legal obligations over its injunction to prevent more materials being added to some bonfires in east Belfast.

'Residents in despair'

The council says it didn't place public notices about the injunction at the bonfire, even though that was a requirement of the court order.

The fiery theme continues in the The Irish News's editorial, as it touches on the week-long saga about the Victoria Place apartments in Belfast that were damaged by the Sandy Row bonfire.

Residents are still seeking answers about who will pay for the repairs and the paper says the attitude of DUP representatives is "causing concern".

It points to a BBC interview with MLA Christopher Stalford, claiming he "could not even bring himself to accept that the bonfire was too close to the flats".

"If Mr Stalford cannot see that a fire fierce enough to crack windows is a bit too close then it is little wonder the residents are in despair," it adds.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 1,500 Linfield fans will travel to Celtic Park to watch their side take on the Hoops

And there's a look ahead to the big Champions League qualifier clash between Celtic and Linfield in Glasgow on Tuesday night.

The first leg in Belfast ended 0-2 in Celtic's favour but it was overshadowed by controversy after coins and bottles were thrown by some Blues fans at Hoops forward Leigh Griffiths.

'A few idiots'

Griffiths is also being investigated for "provoking spectators" after he tied a scarf to a goalpost at Windsor Park.

The Daily Mirror speaks to Linfield boss David Healy, who lays into those involved in the disorder.

"Due to a few idiots, the players didn't get enough credit for what they did in the game," the former Northern Ireland striker says.

Griffiths doesn't get away scot free either, as his boss Brendan Rodgers admits the Celtic striker "has that devilment".

Rodgers says he isn't expecting any trouble off the pitch but, as the Irish News reports, a strict policing operation will be in force.

In the paper, Police Scotland Supt Craig Smith says: "Let's keep this match focused on the football."