Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Celtic fanzone and cultural expression

The News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

Friday sees Linfield take on Celtic at Windsor Park in their Champion's League qualifier.

But Celtic Football Club declined its fans' ticket allocation amid security concerns.

"Shame for NI our fans can't watch us," reads the News Letter's front page.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, from Carnlough, County Antrim, has described the absence of his club's supporters from the match as "a blow for Northern Ireland as a nation".

Image caption Mr Rodgers said it would be a proud moment for him to go back to Windsor Park

Mr Rodgers, who will be visiting Windsor Park for the first time since was a member of the Northern Ireland under-15 side which drew 0-0 against Brazil there in 1988, told the paper the absence of Celtic fans should have been avoided.

"I'm disappointed for our supporters of Northern Ireland, who travel over religiously every week and travel all over the world watching Celtic," he said. "There is now a game on their doorstep and they can't make it.

"I'm also disappointed for us as a nation. This is a different Northern Ireland. I know it's the marching season and all that sort of stuff, but this is a new Northern Ireland and should have been a place where the Celtic supporters could come in," he said.

Despite his disappointment, Mr Rodgers said it would be a proud moment for him to go back to Windsor Park with Celtic.

Inside, the paper reports that a council-backed fanzone for Celtic supporters missing out on the chance to be at the match has been provisionally approved for the car park of a Belfast bar.

Image caption The News Letter reports that a council spokesperson declined to comment on how much money was involved

"The Devenish bar complex car park at Finaghy Road North has been selected as the venue for a live screening of the match," it says.

"The bar is advertising that the facility will be open from midday, with the match being broadcast on the biggest screen in Ireland."

The News Letter reports that a council spokesperson declined to comment on how much money was involved.

In the Belfast Telegraph there's a heartbreaking account from a mother who has suffered the loss of two of her young sons.

"My year of hell on earth after losing a second son within a decade," reads the paper's headline.

Diane Adams, from County Down, told the paper she was left heartbroken for a second time in July last year when her son Jay 'Rossi' Reardon, was killed in a single-vehicle motorbike crash.

Ms Adams, who has three other daughters, also lost her teenage son, David Heaslip, who died of an aneurysm ten years earlier.

Short life

Now she and the rest of her son's family and friends are preparing to mark the anniversary of Mr Reardon's death with a 'cruise' from Bangor.

"It's left a big empty hole and the pain is unbelievable," Ms Adams said.

She described Jay as "a great people person" who achieved so much in his short life.

Elsewhere in the Belfast Telegraph is a story about the number of people taken to court for not having a TV licence.

In the Irish News, DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly has been responding to criticism of bonfires after effigies and flags were burned.

She defended what she called "public expression" and said: "Ultimately people here and across the UK and Republic of Ireland have the right to do it regardless of our like or disagreement with it."

Image caption Mrs Little Pengelly said all hate crime was 'wrong'

The report says Mrs Little Pengelly later added: "For anyone trying to read any ambiguity into what I have said, let me be clear, all terrorism is wrong, that includes associated flags and emblems.

"Hate crime is wrong and there must be zero tolerance of it.

"All bonfires and cultural expression, should be done in a respectful way."