Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

TheNews Letterand theIrish Newslead with the same story about the removal of a Sinn Fein special adviser.

"Killer McArdle to quit Stormont role" is the News Letter's headline as it reports how Mary McArdle, convicted on the murder of Mary Travers in 1984, is stepping down as special adviser to the Culture Minister, Caral Ni Chuilin.

The paper says it follows months of public criticism of her appointment.

The Irish News speaks of "relief" as she was moved to other duties. It quotes Mary Travers's sister, Ann, as saying she was delighted by the decision. "If I've achieved anything," she says "I hope it's that other victims are not afraid to speak up."

TheBelfast Telegraphtucks the story away on page 16 and leads instead with the closure of Dalriada prep school, which it says has fallen victim to the economic downturn.

It says it leaves the remaining 15 fee-dependent prep schools "in crisis". The paper puts some of the blame on a political decision to reduce funding to the sector.


Perhaps not surprisingly, there are plenty of pictures from Cheltenham this morning.

One victorious jockey turns up on the front page of the Irish News. It is the paper's own Cheltenham columnist, Jason Maguire, who won the Supreme Novices Hurdle on Cinders and Ashes.

A smiling Ruby Walsh is focus of attention in Dublin after his successful first day at the festival. But there's less joy elsewhere on the same front pages. TheIrish Timesreports that the Republic will have to pay a bill of more than 3bn euros within days, after the European Commission ruled out delaying the payment in anticipation of a deal to ease the country's banking debt.

TheIrish Independentleads with a report showing that house prices have reached rock bottom, but could stay there for years. The story says the average price has fallen by two-thirds since the height of the economic boom.

David Cameron is the focus of attention in London.

It is for two contrasting reasons. The first is summed up by a picture of Samantha Cameron with Michelle Obama during the prime minister's trip to the US.

TheGuardiansays Mr Cameron is being accorded the grandest welcome of any world leader in Washington this year. Several papers point out that he was given the rare privilege of a flight on Air Force One.

But theDaily Mailis critical, wondering if a plane trip costing £100,000 an hour to see a basketball game should really have been the first item on the agenda.

But many of the papers also point to Mr Cameron's close association with the key players in another story - Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie, who were re-arrested by officers investigating phone hacking at the News of the World.

TheDaily Telegraphsays the arrests cast a shadow over the US visit. TheIndependentcomments in an editorial that the associations that are emerging between what it calls the Cameron coterie, the Metropolitan Police and the Murdoch newspapers "raise questions that cry out ... for answers".


Finally, these are unfortunate times for the city of Trenton, New Jersey.

The Independent reports that a long-running dispute between the mayor and the city council has reached rock bottom.

The council has refused, since last November, to sign-off on the mayor's purchase of paper products for civic buildings.

The result is that the city hall is running short on coffee cups and will run out of loo roll by tomorrow.

The police HQ is also in dire straits in the toilet department, and employees are having to bring their own rolls.

The Police Benevolent Association tells the paper, with no pun intended, that the situation is "beyond dysfunctional".

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