Newspaper headlines: Bilingual signs and Buckfast

By Caroline McClatchey

  • Published
News Letter front page Monday 18 SeptemberImage source, News Letter

New figures on the religious breakdown of schools make the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper leads with the news that "just two out of three pupils in the state sector are Protestant" - down by 10% over the past decade.

Barry Mulholland, chief executive of the Controlled Schools Support Council, said some have an almost 50/50 religious balance and others are more than 90% Catholic.

Image source, PA
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New figures show 66% of pupils are Protestant; 10% Catholic - 18% indicate no religion

The paper says controlled schools - which are managed and funded by the Education Authority through a board of governors - account for just under half of all schools in Northern Ireland.

Mr Mulholland says the figures will dispel the myth that it is known as the "Protestant sector".

The Telegraph's front page also features the smiling face of Hannah Molloy, who died in a car crash in County Tyrone over the weekend.


Tributes to the teenager lead the Irish News, where Ms Molloy, from Castlederg, is described as a "special, fun, caring and loving person".

The paper carries the grim statistic that her death brings the number of people killed on Northern Ireland's roads this year to 41.

Another story appearing in most of the papers is Arlene Foster's wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday News programme.

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Arlene Foster's BBC interview is dissected and analysed by the papers

The DUP leader said cutting the pay of Stormont politicians could not be used "as a stick" to encourage progress in the power-sharing talks.

Needless to say, the interview raised a few eyebrows and responses and the Belfast Telegraph runs a few of them.

Alan McQuillan - who sat on the Stormont watchdog responsible for setting pay - repeated his call for salaries to be stopped.

"Not having anybody at Stormont to approve cancer tests and drugs which could save lives is offensive," he said. "Not having politicians doing the job they are well paid to do is offensive."

Soar point

The News Letter picks up on her comments about the Irish language - one of the main stumbling blocks in attempts to restore devolution.

Mrs Foster accused Sinn Fein of using the issue to "humiliate" unionists and said the party's refusal to move on its demands for a stand-alone language act has made it impossible "for those of us who want to move forward".

The paper has a double-page spread on the issue, focussing on one particular aspect - the vandalism of bilingual signs put up by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

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There's much talk about Ryanair's mass cancellations

A UUP councillor said one of the signs has had the "top cut off once, been spray painted and had acid poured on it".

"The question needs to be put to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, how much ratepayers' money will they continue to put into this?" said Glen Barr.

"And if they have an Irish language act, how much will it cost the public?"

Another story which has taken-off (excuse the pun) is Ryanair's announcement that it would cancel 40 to 50 flights every day for the next six weeks.

The Daily Mirror says the budget airline admitted it had to axe the flights after "messing up" the pilot's holiday rota.

'Survival tools'

The paper quotes one passenger - due to fly from Knock to London on Wednesday: "It's just disgraceful that Ryanair won't tell people if their flights have been cancelled."

In its editorial, the paper says the way the firm has treated its passengers is "outrageous" and calls for it to face sanctions.

Image source, Reuters
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Just a wee Sunday run - the Belfast Ciy half marathon

However, it's a big thumbs-up for the Belfast City Half Marathon on Sunday - the Mirror says more than 3,000 runners pounded the pavements and the rain stayed away.

And finally, while most people appearing in court would just want a good lawyer with them, it seems cakes slices and alcohol are also desirable for some.

The Irish News has learned, via a Freedom of Information request, what items have been seized by security staff at three courts since 2014.

The vast majority of items were confiscated in Coleraine and they included pen knives, screwdrivers, nail clippers, "survival tools" - and Buckfast.