Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Carl Frampton legal bid and pop star bingo

Front page of the Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
Image caption Front page of the Daily Mirror

Carl Frampton's potential showdown in the courts instead of the ring dominates the front pages on Monday morning.

The Belfast boxer says he is "deeply disappointed" that he is facing legal action from Cyclone Promotions, which is owned by the McGuigan family.

He left the organisation in August and has since joined up with London promoter Frank Warren.

Frampton says he will defend the action rigorously and will be "counter claiming on a number of grounds".

Cyclone Promotions said it had tried to mediate a settlement with Carl Frampton and his representatives "for some weeks".

A photograph of Frampton and his former promoter Barry McGuigan staring at each other is the focal point of the front page of the Belfast Telegraph, with the Daily Mirror also carrying the story.

Barry McGuigan resigned as a director of Cyclone Promotions in 2015, but other members of his family remain in the role.

No punches are being pulled in the political battle between London and Dublin over the Irish border, post-Brexit, according to the News Letter.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The issue of the Irish border is continuing to stir debate in the newspapers

The UK's international trade secretary, Liam Fox, has declared that there can be no final decisions on the future of the border until the UK and the EU have reached a trade agreement.

It follows comments from the Irish Republic's EU agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan, that it could veto Brexit trade talks. He told the Observer that Dublin would "play tough to the end" over its threat to veto trade talks until it had guarantees over the border.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has also joined the debate, saying the Irish border is "one of the most difficult and most urgent issues we've got to face".

The DUP repeated its view that Brexit could not be implemented in a way that created a border within the UK, during its party conference at the weekend.

The News Letter also reports that DUP leader Arlene Foster told the conference that Stormont was worth working to restore, with deputy leader Nigel Dodds warning that it was in Northern Ireland's long-term interests to have a functioning executive.

However, it notes that Mr Dodds' message that this would "inevitably mean" the DUP "taking difficult decisions" was the one part of the speech that did not receive applause.

In the Irish News, John Manley reflects that with the exception of Mr Dodds's speech, references to Sinn Féin were "conspicuous by their absence" and that there was no mention of new Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann.

He says it "would be stretching things to describe it as cosmopolitan but there was clearly a concerted effort to ensure that anyone watching in Britain was presented with a positive image".

The front page of the Irish News reflects on the consequences of Stormont being in mothballs with a senior official at the Department of Justice saying the policing board "cannot exercise any of its functions" in the absence of political members.

Image caption Jarvis Cocker performed duties as a bingo caller at a club in east Belfast at the weekend

It says political representatives have not sat on the board, which monitors the PSNI's performance, since the collapse of the executive in January.

The paper reports that Department of Justice permanent secretary Nick Perry had written to former board member Dolores Kelly with the information about the board's powers.

Ms Kelly said she was awaiting a report from the board on how it is "managing to perform some functions of delegated authority and not others".

A board spokesman said the previous board had delegated authority to the chair, vice-chair and chief executive "to take forward a number of areas of work" and that this "delegated authority will continue until a new board is in place".

Politics is also on the agenda at The Daily Mirror, with the newspaper saying Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has "just 24 hours to save the Irish government".

Mr Varadkar met with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in a bid to broker a deal and dodge a Christmas election.

The government is under threat after the main opposition party tabled a motion of no confidence in deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald. The motion came over her handling of a police whistleblower controversy and is due to be debated in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on Tuesday.

There is no word that pop star Jarvis Cocker will be brought in as a mediator at Stormont, but he was in east Belfast at the weekend for some number crunching of his own.

The Belfast Telegraph reports the Pulp lead singer was the surprise bingo caller at the Ulster Maple Leaf Club, before his appearance at a club night organised by renowned DJ David Holmes.

Spare a thought for former east Belfast resident and reporter Chris Holt, who now lives in Cocker's home city.

"I've never seen Jarvis Cocker in Sheffield, now he's calling bingo about 200 yards from where I used to live in east Belfast!" he noted on Twitter.