Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

Page one of the Irish News is taken up with a picture of white-suited forensics officers searching the area near where a bomb exploded on Londonderry's Culmore Road early on Tuesday.

The paper says it's raised fears of a return to attacks on commercial premises.

The Belfast Telegraph says detectives are investigating the possibility that the real target may have been the Strand Road police station but the plan was foiled by the presence of patrols in the area.

The Mirror comments that Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, was "spot on" when he described the bombers as "conflict junkies".

"They bring only misery," the paper says, "but misery makes victims and victims make for conflict", and that's how the bombers "get their fix".

The News Letter has the findings of a survey by Liverpool University which suggests that 14% of people who identified themselves as nationalists "had sympathy for the reasons why some republican groups continued to use violence".


The paper describes the finding as "worrying" and says it is "clearly at odds" with the belief that the dissidents have no support.

The Irish Times comments that the businesses damaged in the attack represent normality and "normality is the enemy" for the dissidents.

The paper adds that such unrepresentative groups will not thrive in the long run, but it's likely they can survive on the fringes of a society "in which sectarian tensions and economic and social marginalisation continue to act as recruiting sergeants for extremism".

The Irish Independent, meanwhile, leads with the news that new motorway tolls are on the way in the Republic - four of them on the M50 around Dublin, but many more on the national routes that link the capital with other major cities.

The Independent also has a picture of Dave Grennan and his wife Carol in what looks like a garden shed without a roof, but in fact is their own private observatory. They've become celebrities in the world of stargazing after discovering "supernova 2010IK" - the biggest discovery in the history of Irish astronomy.

'Big mistake'

"Tories in turmoil as child benefit backlash gathers strength," says a headline in the Independent.

The Guardian talks of "a day of jitters" in the Tory high command "amid fears that the government had made its first big mistake".

Many of the papers use a picture of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, his wife Samantha and their baby, Florence, to encapsulate the issue.

"Cameron says sorry to mums," is the headline above it in the Mail.

"I should have warned you," admits PM, says the Daily Telegraph.

The Times says the dismay within the conservative ranks was directed less against the ending of a universal benefit and more at a party leadership that seemed to be out of touch with its grassroots.

Almost every paper has an obituary and several have separate features as well, paying tribute to that master of comedy, Sir Norman Wisdom.

The Mirror says anyone who managed to become the biggest star in Albania during the grim communist era had to be special.

The Mail recalls him being knighted at Buckingham Palace and behaving impeccably until walking back to his seat, when he did one of his trademark trip-ups.

"The Queen," it says, "was very definitely amused."

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