Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

There is plenty of comment in the London papers on the shootings in America.

Several front pages focus on Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest victim, born on 11 September 2001, which, the Daily Telegraph says, was "another of America's blackest days".

"Born on day of mourning," says The Times, "...killed on day of despair."

The Guardian writes of an increasingly vitriolic political atmosphere in the United States, with fights breaking out at town hall meetings and Facebook pages calling for assassinations.

The Independent comments on a debased political culture.

The Mirror is anxious to avoid the American example. The US should pull back from the brink, it says, and Britain must never go down the American road to hate.

Road tales

The front pages on the local papers carry a couple of stories for motorists.

The News Letter says Stormont politicians are proposing moving to privatised MOT tests even though critics say such a system has led to people being ripped off in Great Britain.

It says most of the big political parties in Northern Ireland have recently suggested privatising MOTs. Across the water, garages do the tests and to add to the debate the News Letter reports that the Institute of Advanced Motoring is suggesting that our current independent system should be copied over there.

The main headline in the Irish News is "Motorway Madness".

The motorway in question is Dublin's M50. The Irish News says it is taking its toll - pun intended - on northern drivers who are being pursued for tens of thousands of euro in fines through what the paper calls a baffling payment system.

It reports that the only place in Northern Ireland where the three euro pre-pay toll can be settled over the counter has been tracked down. It is a corner shop in Jonesborough, south Armagh.

According to the toll company which operates the overall system, knowing nothing about the charge is no excuse for what it calls 'foreign-registered' vehicles failing to pay.


The Belfast Telegraph says top barristers here could be forced to slash their fees. Pressure from the Office of Fair Trading has resulted in amended rules about pricing while new provisions will make it easier for barristers from elsewhere to compete in Northern Ireland.

The paper says the new moves could also open the legal market to younger barristers who currently find things difficult because so much of the court work here is monopolised by a small pool.

In the Dublin papers, Brian Cowen is in trouble over a game of golf.

It has been revealed that in 2008 he played golf and had dinner with Sean Fitzpatrick, the head of the Anglo Irish Bank. As the Irish Times says, this was at a time when the bank was heading towards collapse. But Mr Cowen says this was a social occasion and the affairs of Anglo were not discussed.

The Irish Independent says Mr Cowen's hopes of staging a pre-election Fianna Fail fightback have been dealt a devastating blow and concerns have intensified about whether he can lead the party into a General Election.

Panto pair

Finally, if you thought Jedward were a flash in the pan, think again.

The Irish Independent reports how they're a big hit - in panto. They have been in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin where they have been playing the part of the fairy godbrothers in Cinderella -- and selling a staggering 42,000 tickets.

Not only that, but they have signed up for next Christmas's panto - which will be Jedward and the Beanstalk and some shows are already sold out.

The Independent asked their manager Louis Walsh how much they'd be earning. Answer: "A lot."

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