Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


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

Much debate this morning about the Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson.

He tells the Belfast Telegraph he will consider quitting. This is in light of the report due today, critical of his office's work on the Troubles cases.

A headline spells out his view - "If I'm damaging the integrity of the office by remaining in my job, I may step down earlier than planned".

Another aspect of policing is in the Irish News. It says the number of employment cases taken against the PSNI has increased more than ten times in the past year.

A total of 366 industrial and employment tribunals have been mounted since 2007. But the Irish News says a staggering 267 have been brought this year alone.

According to the newspaper, this surge is linked to what are known as class actions lodged by officers and former officers in the full-time and part-time reserve.

And a spokesman for the PSNI says the huge rise relates to claims of equal pay discrimination and breaches of work regulations.

The main headline in Monday's News Letter is: "Church rocked by gay clergy storm".

This is a story which the newspaper broke on Saturday, the revelation that a senior cleric in the Church of Ireland has entered into a civil partnership.

The minister involved is the Very Rev Tom Gordon who is a dean in County Carlow.

The News Letter says its story led to weekend meetings of genuinely shocked senior figures from the traditional wing of the church while gay rights campaigners have hailed what they see as evidence of the growing acceptance of same sex couples within the Church of Ireland.

Elsewhere, we have the strained relations between the Vatican and the Irish government.

At the weekend we had the Vatican's response to Enda Kenny's tough statement in July about the Cloyne report into how abuse cases were handled.

The Irish Times says the Government stands over its criticism but is taking time to compile its response - that will be the response to the response to a response.

Various views are being expressed about all this. The Irish Times editorial examines the Vatican statement in detail and says it is hard to escape the sense that they are still more concerned with avoiding any admission of legal responsibility than with the anger, confusion and sadness of the faithful.

The Irish Independent says the Holy See should speak the language of the people.

Church versus State - who is right and who is wrong, it wonders.

The Irish News columnist Tom Kelly is critical of both sides. He says there is a lot of tit-for-tat nonsensical point-scoring in the Vatican statement but he accuses Enda Kenny of grandstanding as well.

Television programmes dominate the front pages of the tabloids.

The front page of the Sun reveals that the first millionaire winner of Ant and Dec's new game show once served time for assault.

Then we have the Daily Mirror which has a big picture of one of the Loose Women presenters, who says she nearly died in hospital recently because of a reaction to anaesthetic.

And on the front page of the Daily Express, a happy picture of John and Sally Bercow, reunited after her eviction from Big Brother. Now there is order in their house, it says.

Finally, a sure sign that winter is coming on as the new Cliff Richard calendar is released.

The Daily Mail shows him hugging a horse, playing basketball, swimming with a dolphin.

He is 71 next month and it wonders how he looks so impossibly youthful.

Apparently he follows a book which gives you hundreds of ways to live to be 100.

According to the paper, among its more unusual tips, it suggests eating daily doses of garlic, orange peel and celery juice.

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