Northern Ireland

NI Newspaper Review: 'Running battles', fires and a sea god takes centre stage

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Dramatic photographs of cars and a building in flames feature on the front pages of all the local newspapers.

It follows violence in nationalist areas of Belfast in the run-up to Tuesday's anniversary of the introduction of internment.

The Irish News carries a dramatic front-page picture of a car burning in the Markets area.

The paper reports that a building on the Falls Road was set on fire and there were attempts to hijack buses on Monday evening.

Earlier, Belfast City Council had taken away bonfire material from the Markets site.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption A former credit union in west Belfast was set on fire

The paper says gangs of young people, some wearing balaclavas, took part in "running battles" with the police on Monday.

Inside, security correspondent Allison Morris writes that the first test of Belfast Council's new policy on removal of bonfire material had been met with "scenes of destruction".

The paper reports that a bonfire had been rebuilt in the New Lodge area after material had been removed in July and masked youths were spotted sitting on piles of pallets to protect them.

The paper's leader writer says that the scenes of violence were "very disappointing". It is doubtful that many, if any, of those taking part were alive at the time internment without trial was introduced, the writer points out.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption One of two cars destroyed in violence on Monday

The headline in the Belfast Telegraph reads: "Day of Shame".

Under more pictures of blazing fires, the paper reports that masked youths threw petrol bombs in daylight and, later, "crowds filled the streets in Divis as the old Credit Union building went up in flames".

Inside, the Telegraph quotes MP for west Belfast Paul Maskey, Sinn Féin, who condemns the "wanton destruction".

"I would call on all those involved in this to desist. I call on parents to know where their children are this evening and over the coming days because it is totally unacceptable," he says.

The Daily Mirror's headline reads: "Fires of Hate" in large block capitals. On its front page, it calls the violence in Belfast a "night of madness".

The News Letter runs with the story too.

However, its front-page lead is a report of a farm death which, says the paper, has left the County Antrim farming community "reeling".

James Moore was discovered at Lowtown Road, Templepatrick on Sunday. The circumstances of his death are not known, says the News Letter, but it is believed that a tractor was involved.

The paper quotes local councillor Mervyn Rea who says the death "underlines the dangers of working alone on a farm, especially when machinery is involved."

The News Letter's leader writer looks back to the trouble on the Dublin to Belfast train at the weekend when rival GAA fans clashed.

The writer says drunkenness on cross-border trains seems to be tolerated and calls for a "zero policy" approach to excess alcohol on trains.

Image copyright MOD
Image caption The statue was found by a group of ramblers

And on a lighter note, a statue is on the move in Northern Ireland.

The paper says a stolen sea-god statue is to re-appear at a music festival outside Limavady on Friday.

The statue of Manannán MacLir was cut from its base in January 2015. The paper says it was replaced with a small wooden cross bearing the words of one of the ten commandments: "You shall have no other gods before me."

It was later discovered by a group of ramblers. The paper says the statue has been repaired and is ready for an outing at the Stendhal Festival, much to the delight of its organisers.

Irish News columnist Anita Robinson is not feeling the love. She is in no mood for jingle bells and mistletoe.

She laments a world when Christmas seems to last all year and, in July, there are full page ads in the local paper urging people to book their December party now.

But watch how you go... mid rant, her dear daughter texts: "Hi mum, I think I've just found your Christmas present on the internet," she says. And outside it's still August.