Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The three Belfast papers all lead with the news that Iris Robinson is back in town.

The Irish News describes how she arrived on the ferry from Liverpool in the early hours of Saturday along with a psychiatric nurse and that they were picked up in a black 4x4 driven by Peter Robinson's close protection squad.

The paper understands Mrs Robinson will continue to receive NHS-funded mental health treatment through the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The News Letter headlines an appeal by the first minister that she should be given privacy.

"Media warned to lay off" is the Belfast Telegraph headline.

A spokesman for Mr Robinson said other arrangements will have to be made if intrusion hinders her progress and added: "He'll not be providing a running commentary on these matters."

Meanwhile, some of the papers report that a new play's about to open, dealing with the row a couple of years ago when Mrs Robinson called homosexuality an abomination.

The play's been written by Colin Bell from Bangor who now lives in Edinburgh.

He tells the Mirror: "Mrs Robinson may have been engaged in a homophobic rant but my play isn't a rant against her."

Down hearted

The Irish News planned one of its souvenir wrap-around front pages, obviously hoping that Down would have won the All-Ireland GAA final on Sunday.

But it was not to be. Instead the picture shows the players looking a bit miserable. "Mourne men downhearted," the headline says.

But the paper thanks them for providing plenty of entertainment and football at the highest level.

The Belfast Telegraph front page has a picture of two young fans watching the last moments of the game in agony.

The paper praises the skill and courage of the men from Down. The Irish Times says that at times they were stunning to watch.

There is plenty of analysis in the papers about the Pope's visit.

The Mail says it was a more successful visit than the Roman Catholic hierarchy had dared to hope for.

The Independent says the Pope may have left Britain a little more broad-minded than he found it.

John Cooney in the Irish Independent says he has transformed his image to become a holy granddad.

The Guardian describes how people came from as far away as Bogota, Kerala and Nashville to see him.

'Not man enough'

But what about Northern Ireland?

Ed Curran in the Belfast Telegraph asks why the new Northern Ireland wasn't represented when the Pope arrived in Edinburgh.

He says both the first and deputy first minister had an opportunity to demonstrate their support for Stormont's shared future.

"But neither of them proved politically man enough," he says, "and they shouldn't be allowed to escape censure."

Similar views from columnist Tom Kelly in the Irish News.

He says Mr Robinson's and Mr McGuinness's diaries must have been full of more pressing engagements, preventing them from giving the slightest thought to the positive impact of images of DUP and Sinn Fein representatives sitting side by side at an event attended by both the Queen and the Pope.

Of course they may have been outside their comfort zone, which is one of the expressions the Mail includes in a list of top 50 hates.

Some good ones which we'll all recognise. "Are you all right there" - used by shop staff instead of - "May I help you".

Similarly - "Can I get" has replaced "may I have".

And then there's "Enjoy!" which the paper says is a benediction that somehow reduces the prospect.

And "you're doing great" which is what dentists tell you when you're successfully keeping your mouth open.

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