Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Thursday's newspapers.

The prospect of more street protests in Ardoyne is the lead story in two of the local papers.

The Irish News says the Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective plans to block the Crumlin Road again during future marches by the loyal orders.

The paper points out that there are usually two parades in the area during the month of August.

The News Letter quotes Martin Og Meehan, son of the IRA veteran of the same name, as saying that there will be what he calls "a peaceful and dignified protest" against the Apprentice Boys parade on 14th of August.

It points out the the previous protest preceded violence that cost the taxpayer millions of pounds and left more than 80 police officers injured.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with a not unrelated story. It says the chief constable, Matt Baggott, has warned that investigating the crimes of the past is taking resources away from current policing.

The paper comments that there's a tone of "evident exasperation" in his words, and that "tough choices lie ahead" for the PSNI in a climate of cutbacks.

The taoiseach, Brian Cowen, is the subject of the main headline in The Irish Times , after he said budget savings would be achieved mostly through spending cuts instead of tax increases.

The paper says the cabinet has broadly agreed its approach for next year's budget.

The Irish Independent reports that the Anglo Irish Bank signed off on a huge loan extension to a company co-owned by its former chief executive, Sean FitzPatrick, on the same day the bank was taken into state ownership.

The paper quotes the finance minister, Brian Lenihan, as saying that he was unaware of the arrangement. According to the story, attention is now focusing on the bank's lending around the time of nationalisation, when it should have been battening down the hatches.

Most of the papers agree that Wednesday was not a good day for the coalition government.

It was a momentous day for Nick Clegg as he handled his first Prime Minister's Questions while David Cameron was in Washington.

But The Times says he blundered into a minefield when he said Britain's invasion of Iraq in 2003 was illegal.

The Daily Mail says he plunged Westminster into chaos. The Guardian quotes a leading lawyer, who says such a public statement could increase the chances of charges against Britain in the international courts.

The Independent compares him to the last deputy prime minister, John Prescott. The only difference, it says, is that when the current deputy sounds as if he's speaking a foreign language, he probably is - Mr Clegg being multilingual.

But Mr Cameron was at it, too. Both The Mirror and the Mail take him to task for saying that Britain was a junior partner to the US even in 1940. The Mail sees it as an insult to those who fought so heroically in those dark days.

Finally, the Guardian reports that a jail in Argentina which was facing budget cuts managed to find a watchtower guard who didn't grumble about low wages.

That's because he was a football wearing a guard's cap. The dummy guard was nicknamed Wilson, after the volleyball that kept Tom Hanks company in the film Cast Away.

Sadly, the inevitable happened, and two prisoners made a successful break for freedom. The paper says officials are in trouble, and Wilson has been demoted back to being a soccer ball.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites