Northern Ireland

What the papers say

newspaper title

Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's newspapers.

Ian Paisley's announcement that he could accept a Sinn Fein first minister is the lead story in the News Letter.

His simple response is, "I'd have to accept the will of the people".

It's not all bonhomie however; he adds that as a unionist he'll naturally be playing his part to make sure Sinn Fein don't become the majority party in the future.

He also spells out his clear opposition to the creation of a single unionist party.

Lord Bannside made the comments in an article for the paper's Union 2021 series of essays on the future of Northern Ireland.

"Stimulating views" - that's the paper's own verdict, adding that "Lord Bannside has never been frightened to express strong views in a forthright manner".

'Let down'

Some papers are still pondering the fate of Alex Higgins.

"Did snooker fail the Hurricane?" asks the Belfast Telegraph.

Snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan accused the sport of letting down Alex Higgins.

He said it should have done more to look after the former champion after his career had finished, with players dipping into their own prize money to support the veterans.

Dublin is officially a Unesco City of Literature, the Irish Times reports.

It's only the fourth city to be awarded the international title: the other cities are Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City.

Novelist Joseph O'Connor said it was happy news at a necessary time.

In an editorial, the paper says that writing and writers have been central to Dublin's identity and character, and that tradition lives on in today's novelists, poets and playwrights.

More details from the Wikileaks files are being reported in the papers.

On Monday, the Guardian published dramatic information from more than 90,000 secret US military files covering six years of the war in Afghanistan.


It now discloses further evidence of alleged attempts by coalition commanders to cover up civilian casualties in the conflict.

The paper describes the leaked documents as "a game-changer - stunning in their enormity".

The Times leads with another angle on the same story - the White House warning that billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan could be at risk if the leaked intelligence reports prove that its security forces are colluding with the Taliban.

Teams of analysts in the US and Pakistan were assigned to comb the vast quantity of documents, released by the Wikileaks website, looking for potential risks to coalition forces.

The Matt cartoon in the Daily Telegraph has an alternative take - it shows Admiral Nelson lying wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar - and the caption: "Hardy, I don't want that kiss to appear on Wikileaks".

And finally, still with the Telegraph, it asks how many of the one pound coins in your pocket are fake?

Quite a few is the answer - 41 million of them, that's one in 36.

The record level suggests that the proportion of counterfeit coins has tripled in the last decade.

The situation has got so bad that all the pound coins in circulation may have to be scrapped and reissued.

The paper has some tips on how to spot a rogue coin - watch for a lack of ridges on the edge of the coin and a suspicious brightness to the metal.

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