What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

The eyes of several papers are on Kilkeel after the attempt to kill a young policewoman.

"Policewoman's baby was strapped into bomb car" is the main headline in the The Irish News. It says the child was in the vehicle when the bomb was found on the ground.

There's a lot of anger directed at the dissident group believed to be responsible and at the policewoman's uncle, independent councillor Martin Connolly, who has refused to condemn the attack.

The Irish News says he is "on the margins of society". It quotes his remark: "When there's British occupation in Ireland there will always be opposition, whether you agree with it or not."

It says other politicians made similar twisted comments during our darkest days but they've almost all subsequently come to accept that murder can't be justified.

And the police service is at breaking point, according to the The News Letter.

This is the view of the chairman of the Police Federation, Terry Spence. He tells the paper the threat level is increasing all the time.

The News Letter thinks the law-abiding people of Northern Ireland deserve to know the truth about just how bad that threat is.

It says Matt Baggott, David Ford and Owen Patterson "need to be reminded that there's no such thing as an acceptable level of violence and their job is to stamp on the dissidents quickly and decisively".

Ed Curran in the Belfast Telegraph asks: "Will it take a death before we wake up to the dissident threat?"

And the SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie writes in the The Irish Times.

She thinks the PSNI and not MI5 should have the lead role in intelligence-gathering which she says has been weakened as a result.

She says: "We have an accountable policing service but it's reliant on an unaccountable, shadowy service with its own agenda and a deeply dubious record here."

Afghanistan murders

On the front page of the Belfast Telegraph is a picture of Dr Karen Woo and her fiance Mark Smith from Newtownards.

The headline describes this as their precious last moments together.

Her murder in Afghanistan along with nine other aid workers is covered widely.

The Guardian says the killings could lead to a debate about whether agencies should negotiate with insurgents to guarantee their safety.

There's coverage as well of the death of a Northern Ireland man working for a security company in Afghanistan.

The Belfast Telegraph gives some details about the firm, New Century, which is headed by Colonel Tim Collins.

It says its role is to pre-empt the activities of insurgent, terrorist or criminal groups.


In the Dublin papers there is much interest in the embattled senator Ivor Callely.

This is a row over expenses and alleged fake invoices.

The Irish Independent says it's time to clean up the political system in the Republic.

It says that throughout all the scandals and the economic wreckage, the "nod-and-a-wink culture has survived".

In the The Daily Telegraph, there's news of Liam Byrne, the Labour minister who left the famous note for the new Treasury incumbents - "Dear chief secretary I'm afraid there's no money".

But there appears to have been some dosh for him. The paper says he's pocketed a £20,000 tax-free severance payment.

Meanwhile, the The Daily Mail reports that you'll soon be able to buy a special signed copy of Tony Blair's memoirs in an edition that's said to look like the Bible. It'll come in a special slip case made of red cloth and it'll cost you £150.

But the Mail says if you like fairy stories and find this one a bit steep, you can get the complete works of Hans Christian Anderson online for £6.49.

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