Northern Ireland

NI Paper Review: Clamp controversy still on the front pages

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly, in the spotlight since taking it upon himself to remove a clamp from his car with bolt cutters, is the subject of the Irish News' main front page picture.

Sinn Féin are trying to draw a "double yellow line" under the row following Mr Kelly's expression of regret and paying both a fine and damages, the paper reports.

The Irish News editorial holds that Mr Kelly's quick reaction to the controversy shows that Sinn Féin have learned from the controversy which led to the resignation of West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff in January.

The paper's columnist Fionnuala O'Connor says that Sinn Féin is suffering from "self-inflicted embarrassment", assisting "unfriendly observers" in the media.

The Belfast Telegraph's Eilis O'Hanlon writes that the incident shows that Sinn Féin believes that the "law is for little people" however.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gerry Kelly has been in the news since removing a clamp from his car

The News Letter's front page story recalls how Mr Kelly had spoken "at length" about the problem of illegal parking in the assembly in 2008.

Post-Brexit border

"Downing Street raises fears of hard border," is the lead headline in the Irish News.

Nationalist reaction to the government's insistence that the UK will not remain a part of the EU Customs Union post-Brexit is the source of the story.

It follows talks between the Brexit Secretary, David Davis and the chief negotiator for the European Commission, Michel Barnier, in London on Monday.

'Huge differences'

Back in Belfast, the political talks aimed at restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland get a mere third of a page of coverage in the News Letter.

It carries comments from the DUP that "huge" differences remain between the parties.

The Irish News coverage of Monday's negotiations is very similar, as is that in the Belfast Telegraph.

Away from politics, the News Letter devotes two pages to the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster which claimed the lives of 23 people including eight Manchester United players.

'Tale of selflessness'

It carries an interview with Coleraine-born goalkeeper Harry Gregg who recalls his horrific memories of the accident, though he tells the paper that he no longer thinks of it everyday.

The News Letter's editorial says Mr Gregg's actions on that day, returning to the burning plane three times to rescue survivors is "an uplifting tale of selflessness".

21 hours a year in traffic

The headline on the lead story in the Belfast Telegraph says: "Traffic jams cost Northern Ireland's economy more than £1bn last year."

A new report suggest Belfast motorists spend an average of 21 hours a year in traffic.

That delay cost the city £140m, according to the paper.

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Image caption Former election candidate Tina McKenzie has been appointed policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses

The Belfast Telegraph's business section reports that Tina McKenzie, who once stood for election under the banner of the now defunct NI21 party, has been appointed the policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

She intends to bring the FSB into the heart of the Brexit debate, she told the paper.