Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Brexit and a community 'shattered'

Mirror Image copyright Trinity Mirror
News Letter Image copyright News Letter

A missing helicopter and the triggering of Article 50 are the common themes across this morning's papers.

The front page of the Mirror reads: "Five missing in Irish Sea," as a search continues for a helicopter which vanished when travelling from Milton Keynes to Dublin yesterday.

Image caption HM Coastguard helicopters searched for the missing aircraft

Contact with the pilot was lost yesterday and it has been reported in the Mirror that five businessmen were on board.

A Mayday Relay broadcast was issued to all vessels passing through the Irish Sea route to contact the Coastguard if they saw anything.

The same story is covered in the Belfast Telegraph, which reports that "no mayday or distress calls" were received from the chopper.

It also reports that the missing aircraft is the same type as those used by the Garda (Irish police) Air Support team.

Image copyright Inpho
Image caption Mr Shiels said what happened to Ryan brought back painful memories for the club

Elsewhere, the Derry City Football Club community has been "shattered" by tragedies in recent months, according to its manager.

Kenny Shiels told the Belfast Telegraph he was still trying to come to terms with the death of 27-year-old team captain, Ryan McBride.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Ryan McBride's coffin was brought to the church flanked by his tem mates

Last year popular ex-striker, Mark Farren, lost his battle with cancer.

And Josh Daniels, a young member of the club, lost five members of his family in the Buncrana Pier tragedy.

Mr Shiels, who read a poem at Mr McBride's funeral, said it had been "a tough time for everybody".

"I have seen how as a football club Derry City has provided strength in tough times.

'Five coffins'

"I've been around football a lot but I believe Derry City is different."

Mr Shiels said what happened to the team's young captain had brought back painful memories for the club.

"It was desperately hard last year with what happened to Josh's family - you go into a wee room and there are five coffins sitting there," he said.

"Josh is good - on the outside, but it is obviously very hard for him."

Image caption Article 50, triggered yesterday, began the process of the UK leaving the EU

Elsewhere in the paper, Donna Deeney shares the view from the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, following the triggering of Article 50 yesterday.

She writes: "The connections between Londonderry and Donegal are as long and deep as the lough they share," and predicts "if there are customs points and big queues, people just won't bother coming here."

She said people in border towns like Muff, County Donegal, were worried about the future of their relationship with Derry now that it is set to become home to the UK's only land border with the EU.

'North's stability'

But the News Letter asserts "both sides say NI to be key part of Brexit negotiation".

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged that "we want to avoid a return to a hard [Irish] border" and MEPs have said they are "especially concerned" about the consequences for Northern Ireland.

Inside, Secretary of State James Brokenshire has said "what we want is the optimum deal for Northern Ireland inside the UK but outside the EU.

"That is our focus, that is what we will be working with our European partners to achieve and I think we can do that."

The Irish News also mentions Brexit on its front page and says it "prompts warnings over north's stability".

Image caption Michelle O'Neill writes in today's Irish News

The paper's political correspondent, John Manley, writes: "While unionists welcomed the triggering of Article 50, nationalists lamented the prime minister's letter to the European Council.

Inside, Sinn Féin's northern leader, Michelle O'Neill, writes: "We have developed a case for designated special status for the north within the EU, which would allow the will of the people of the north to be respected, retain access to the single market, protect jobs and workers' rights and the right of all our people to decide on their own future including Irish unity, as set out in the Good Friday Agreement."

Only one thing's fro sure, this debate is going to go on for months, if not years, to come.