Northern Ireland

NI Paper Review: Royal wedding, Brexit and the border

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Two of Northern Ireland's daily papers lead with Brexit-related issues on Thursday.

The Belfast Telegraph's main story covers unionist anger over comments from a Sinn Féin MP on a possible post-Brexit hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

South Down MP Chris Hazzard told a press conference in London the focus has been on a potential dissident threat, but he believed a wider section of society felt "angry and frustrated" about the possibility of a "hardened border".

He warned that there could "civil disobedience" if checkpoints return to Northern Ireland's frontier with the Republic of Ireland.

That remark provoked "unionist fury", according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Hazzard's comments amounted to a threat and prompted a "renewed determination... for a full and complete Brexit", TUV leader Jim Allister told the paper.

Image caption Chris Hazzard has angered unionists after saying a hard border could result in civil disobedience

The UUP's Doug Beattie said he was staggered by the "incendiary" comments, and accused Mr Hazzard of talking about a return to violence.

In contrast, the News Letter does not mention Mr Hazzard's remarks on a hard border until page 12.

"Dublin will not take a leap in the dark," is the lead headline in the Irish News.

That story is based on comments from the Republic of Ireland's foreign minister, Simon Coveney.

In an interview with the paper, he reiterates Dublin's view that it is the responsibility of the UK Government to set out how a post-Brexit border will operate.

On its inside pages, the Irish News covers a report from academics at Queens University Belfast, which says that Brexit poses a risk to the Good Friday Agreement.

The report says a harder border could be "an effective obstruction" to its implementation.

'Betrayal'

The Irish News also carries a threat from former soldiers - including members of the SAS - to "name and shame" former IRA members in a planned film entitled The Great Betrayal.

Ex-soldiers are asking the public for donations to pay for the film to be made.

It is in response to former soldiers being investigated by legacy investigations.

The front page of the News Letter is Brexit-free but the border does get a mention: The paper leads with the story that work is set to begin on the A5 "Western Transport Corridor" between Aughnacloy on the border with the Republic and Londonderry.

Image copyright REUTERS/Eddie Mulholland

The paper's editorial hails the new upgrade as "excellent news".

The Northern Ireland edition of the Daily Mirror is in a royal mood: Its front-page splash is the news that US actress Meghan Markle is to be become a British Citizen after she marries Prince Harry; she will also be baptised into the Church of England.

In more secular matters, the Belfast Telegraph mentions remarks by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin's Stormont leader at a Cooperation Ireland event on Tuesday night.

Both expressed a desire to strike a deal that would facilitate the return of power-sharing in Northern Ireland: One to add to the Christmas wish-list?