Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

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

There's much anger on the front pages about the bomb in Lurgan at the weekend.

The Irish News headline - "They're targetting kids". With it there's a picture of 12-year-old Demi Maguire and her sister Karla, who's two. She tells the paper how they ran for their lives when the bomb exploded in a bin beside them.

Their mother features on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph. The headline quotes her saying "My girls could have been in coffins today".

Another mother is interviewed in The News Letter. Karen Hendron's daughter Lauren was injured in the blast.

She says it brought back memories of being caught up in an IRA car bomb in 1974 when she was three.

"I feel devastated", Mrs Hendron says. "It's unbelievable that this could happen to my daughter".

And much reaction in the leader columns.

The Belfast Telegraph calls the attack disgusting, an act of heartless terror. But it says one of the most difficult tasks facing all of us is to convince the die-hards of the utter stupidity of their self-defeating strategy.

The News Letter says we're at a crossroads once more. And unless the dissidents are stamped on now, it says, we'll enter another phase of the Troubles that will bring misery and despair.

The Irish News says it's particularly chilling that dissident republicans are now more than ready to risk the death of young and old alike in the course of their activities.

The Chief Constable is on the front page of The Mirror.

"Let's talk to terrorists", the headline says. Several papers quote his views on this topic. He comments that the recent wave of terror strikes can't be dealt with by policing alone and that dialogue needs to take place with those responsible.

And this wouldn't be a betrayal of his officers, he says.

Writing in the News Letter, Sammy Wilson's against such a move.

He considers Martin McGuinness's current claims about the two governments talking to the dissidents.

He says that instead of pandering to the peddlers of misery, the British Government should be sending out a clear message - that it will use all the power of the State to crush them.

Elsewhere and A-levels dominate the headlines in The Independent and The Times.

The Independent has a special series of reports on the prospects facing young people. The headline asks "Who would want to be 18 today?"

It says a record number of school-leavers are expected to miss out on university.

The Times says tens of thousands of qualified sixth formers who just miss their grades won't get on courses because the number of surplus places has halved.

Meanwhile The Irish Times says there's big competition for university places in the Republic as well and students in the south are trying to get into higher education colleges in Northern Ireland.

It says some campuses are already reporting a huge increase in demand.

Finally the Irish Independent reports on a rare film that has been unearthed.

It's a very low budget science fiction picture made in 1954 and it features none other than Patrick Moore when he was virtually unknown.

The film had the title, "Them In The Thing", which shows you it was all a bit tongue in cheek. It was made at Castle Leslie in County Monaghan by the late Desmond Leslie. His family have lived there for 300 years.

Needless to say, a flying saucer was involved in this epic.

Desmond Leslie's son Mark tells the Independent that they used an old Spanish renaissance shield which was hanging on a wall, suspended it on a fishing line and shone a mirror at it to make it glow.

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