Northern Ireland

Paper Review: May's message to nationalists, Dark Hedges and Elvis

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

There are few similarities in the front pages this morning. The Irish News leads with a post-Brexit assurance for nationalists from the Prime Minister.

In a "direct message" to nationalists, Theresa May says that "Irish citizenship is their birthright".

Writing in the paper for the first time, Mrs May says the "first priority in negotiations is protecting the unique and special relationship between UK and Ireland".

The Belfast Telegraph has a touching tribute to race victim Jamie Hodson from his younger brother Rob.

Jamie, 35, from Wigan died in a crash at the Dundrod 150 on Thursday.

His brother, who sustained injuries in the crash, says his "idol" Jamie "lived more in 35 years than some who reach 100".

He also tells the paper that he and his father, who are also motorcycle road racers, have not yet decided whether they will carry on racing competitively.

Image caption Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the Real IRA attack in 1998

The News Letter reports that there is "regret" over a lack of police presence at an Omagh bomb memorial service.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the Real IRA attack in 1998.

The paper reports that Sunday's memorial service was the "first time in 19 years" police have not had representation at the service.

One former officer raised the question as to why to police "could send officers to the Pride festival in Belfast" but not this.

The PSNI said that while officers have previously attended the annual service, this was "at the invitation of the families concerned".

"At this stage we do not believe that local police received an invitation to this year's service, however, we will seek to clarify the matter," it added.

Michael Gallagher from Omagh Support and Self Help Group said the event was not one where formal invites were sent out and was open to all in the community.

Image copyright Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Image caption The iconic tunnel of trees on the Bregagh Road near Armoy

Meanwhile, there is outrage over the state of iconic trees in Armoy, County Antrim, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

The Dark Hedges have increased in popularity since they were featured in TV series Game of Thrones and have attracted busloads of visitors from all over the world.

But one Canadian tourist has expressed disgust at conditions in the area on Twitter.

Steven Walker said he was "appalled at the destruction and mess of the iconic attraction," and posted a picture of rubbish at the site.

He was soon joined by various social media users expressing their concerns about the future of the historic hedges.

Is the pressure of getting good results getting too much for students?

The Daily Mirror reports on worrying statistics that more students in Northern Ireland are seeking counselling ahead of upcoming exam results.

The NSPCC said "pressure to achieve good grades" can be too much for some students to deal with.

The Irish News reports on the release of a controversial trailer documenting the mass escape of IRA prisoners from the Maze in 1983.

The News Letter reports that a victims' group has urged the film industry not to "romanticise" those who caused "death and destruction".

Victims' campaigner Kenny Donaldson has seen the trailer and say he fears the movie will aid the republican movement in its "incessant drive to decriminalise its campaign of terrorism".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elvis Presley died 40 years ago on 16 August 1977

The king is alive! Well, one of his impersonators is.

The Belfast Telegraph has an interview with Elvis tribute singer and former postman Jim Brown, on the anniversary of the icon's death, 40 years ago.

Mr Brown will step on the stage at the Waterfront Hall to perform his "Two Sides of Elvis" show.

The Irish News also covers the "king", heading to County Derry to visit a replica Graceland.

It is the home of 61-year old Barney Coleman from Ballyronan, who is also a former Elvis impersonator.

Mr Coleman tells the paper his house is actually fractionally bigger than that of Elvis and he gets lots of attention from people just driving out on a Sunday for a good look.

One women even had her wedding photos taken there - let's hope she wasn't crying in the chapel. (Sorry).