Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories

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Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's newspapers.

The Belfast Telegraph reports on the price of legal aid.

Claiming an exclusive for the story, it says that almost £4m of public money was handed over to defend 13 people convicted of murder in Northern Ireland last year.

The paper says the large sum will raise fresh questions over our legal aid system, with total payouts to solicitors and barristers doubling to more than £100m pounds a year in the last decade.

The Irish News has more on the patient confidentiality breach at Belvoir Park Hospital.

It says that a major investigation has been launched by the information commissioner, after the paper reported that tens of thousands of patient files and x-rays were abandoned at the former cancer hospital, with some ending up for sale on the internet.

In an editorial, the paper claims that it's an example of a major problem which the health authorities decided to keep hidden.

And it adds that rather taking a defensive position, officials should come out and say sorry to the public.

Over at the News Letter, a different focus.

It reports that the leader of the Libyan government-in-waiting has signed a statement affirming its intention to give financial compensation to IRA victims in the UK, who were injured with weapons supplied by Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

The Irish Times carries a downbeat forecast on the Republic's economy.

The International Monetary Fund has cut projected growth for Ireland to 0.5%.

The Irish economy will grow this year by less than anticipated just four months ago, according to the IMF.

The paper says that the forecast is the most downbeat of any of the international organisations involved in Ireland's bailout, or of any leading Irish forecaster.

One piece of hope - the IMF has not changed its economic growth forecast for 2012.

It still believes the Irish economy will grow by almost 2% next year.

There's more reaction to Rory McIlroy's meltdown at the Masters.

In a front page story, the Sun claims that Rory is being comforted in the arms of his childhood sweetheart Holly Sweeney.

And the Irish News praises him for his dignity and maturity in the face of great disappointment.

But can he play out of the rough, asks the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper's editorial thinks he can. It says that while McIlroy has learned a harsh lesson, he is a level-headed young man with great family support and a wonderful talent, and he will rise to become a major winner in golf.

The Daily Telegraph says that McIlroy's meltdown means he'll have more friends now than he did a week ago - sympathy for that public humiliation makes people like him all the more.

Finally, the Guardian reports on a new initiative on the Italian island of Capri.

The island's dog-owners are now legally required to submit their dog's DNA to a central database. Why?

So that those who don't bag and bin their pet's mess can be more easily prosecuted.

The paper adds that the war against errant dog owners continues in the UK.

Islington Council has bought something called a Poover, an adapted vacuum cleaner to suck up the mess, and officials in Mansfield paint the offending matter with pink dye in an attempt to shame careless dog-owners.

Some have taken matters into their own hands.

In Lincolnshire, a vigilante known only as Pooperman has taken to leaving angry notes on the offending deposits.

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