Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The story that claims the biggest number of front-page headlines is the announcement of a Royal wedding - but there are some exceptions.

The front of the Independent is dominated by the Republic of Ireland's debt crisis.

Its story is illustrated with a picture of what it calls one of the "ghost estates" that dot the landscape - an awful reminder that ordinary people have already been affected.

The Belfast Telegraph has a picture of a solitary car on the A5 near Omagh, as it reports that there are questions over the future of the north-south highway "as the Republic faces ruin".

In a leader, it urges the Irish government to accept European assistance to stabilise the economy, pointing out that the Republic's financial state is of great importance to the UK - its biggest trading partner.

The Irish Times says "the endgame has arrived" as Finance Minister Brian Lenihan comes under what it calls "massive pressure" to accept help from the European rescue fund.

The deaths of seven people, including four children, in separate incidents in Cork and Limerick, dominate the front of the Irish News and the Irish Independent.

The Irish News reports that in the Cork incident, a man who was unemployed and depressed is believed to have strangled his daughters and then died himself in his blazing car after crashing into a tree. A man has been arrested after four other people were found dead in Newcastle West, County Limerick.

In its editorial, the paper calls it "a day of almost unbelievable tragedy". It says it is important to determine if there were any signs that children were at risk and if anything could have been done to prevent these horrific events.

The News Letter is one of many papers to welcome the prospect of a Royal wedding.

It comments that it is a boost for the monarchy and it describes Kate Middleton as a young woman "well-equipped to deal with the exacting demands of being the wife of the second-in-line to the British throne".

The Daily Express says the wedding will be a tonic for the whole nation. The Independent calls it "a welcome bright spot in a generally austere world". The Daily Star says Prince William and his fiancee couldn't have chosen a better moment to announce their news.

There is plenty of discussion on the topic of how to celebrate in an age of austerity. The Mail wants to see a memorable but more personal ceremony than the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981. But the Sun says it "needs to be done properly".

"Let's not demean the event by scrimping," it says.

Some of the papers cover the story almost to the exclusion of all else. The Daily Telegraph fills 16 news pages with it, while the Mirror, the Sun and the Mail all have special pull-out sections.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports that Unesco delegates are meeting in Nairobi to discuss which of more that 50 cultural traditions should be given official protection to ensure that they do not die out.

Among the contenders are Turkish oil wrestling, a Peruvian scissor dance and Luxembourg's annual hopping procession.

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