Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at the morning papers.

Big headlines in the Belfast Telegraph this morning on comments by the Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott.

The paper has a lengthy examination of the question of Scottish independence. It says our politicians are seriously exercised by the issue.

There's an article written by Mr Elliott who's against it. He says it's essential that pro-Union forces articulate a convincing and positive case for the continuation of the Union in the 21st century. He says Alex Salmond poses a greater threat to the Union than the violence of the IRA.

Which takes us to an anniversary which was marked yesterday. The News Letter has extensive coverage of the ceremony held to remember the victims of the Teebane massacre 20 years ago when eight Protestant workmen were murdered by the IRA.

"Twenty years of tears," the headline says. As the paper notes, no-one has ever been arrested or convicted for the crime.

It says the families have an empty feeling that the gang responsible has not been apprehended and is unlikely ever to be.

In the Irish News a big report on gun attacks by dissident paramilitaries. The paper says victims are being left permanently maimed as the gunmen become increasingly more violent, using shotguns rather than handguns.

The Irish News talks to one of Northern Ireland's top plastic surgeons. He says that shotgun is a "dirty weapon" and causes much more serious injuries than a low velocity weapon. Fired at close range, he says, there can be widespread nerve damage and you can expect an amputation. There is a picture of a young man who lost a leg in a shooting a few years ago.

The finger of blame for the current attacks is pointed at the dissident group Oglaigh n hEireann. The paper says they are keen to control and instil fear in areas where they have only marginal pockets of support.

Elsewhere, pictures everywhere of the Costa Concordia lying on its side in the waters off the Tuscan coast. Questions of course about how this all happened.

The headline in the Daily Mail - Was the captain showing off?

Stories everywhere of heroism and desperation. One woman tells the Mail: "There were big men, crew members, pushing past to get to the lifeboats. It was disgusting."

The Mirror says passengers fought each other as they tried to escape.

The Guardian and others write of the ship's purser, Manrico Giampedroni. He helped load passengers into lifeboats and then broke his leg while searching for other survivors.

Left alone on board, he waited for help until he was winched up by a helicopter.

Big story for the Dublin papers - the sinking of a fishing boat off the coast of Cork. The Irish Times front page shows an Irish naval vessel among those in the search for the five missing fishermen.

The paper says that part of the coast is marked by tragedy and it notes that there was a rescue operation there just last month.

There's a big investigation in the Irish Independent into the cost of the Mahon Tribunal. It was set up in 1997 to look into alleged planning corruption in Dublin. It last sat in public in October 2008.

The Independent says the State has racked up a bill of 30m euros meeting day-to-day running costs.

Included in that is 150,000 euros spent on tea, water and newspapers for the legal team, many of whom were paid more than 1,700 euros a day.

Other expenses included 50,000 euros for the judges' lunches and 5,000 euros for a timber shed.

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