NI Paper Review: Police deaths 'lethal' device warning

image copyrightDaily Mirror
image copyrightNews Letter

The discovery of a "lethal" device in west Belfast believed to have been created to target police dominates the front pages of two of Northern Ireland's daily papers on Thursday.

"Dissidents wanted to kill police with rocket" is the main headline on the front page of the News Letter, which describes the device as being capable of firing armour-piercing rockets.

The Police Federation tells the paper that the find near Poleglass showed that dissident republicans are "still wedded to murdering police".

The front page of the Belfast Telegraph carries the headline: "Mortar find: It could have been carnage".

In its report, UUP MLA Doug Beattie describes the device as an "indiscriminate weapon" that could have "killed men, woman and children in their own community".

Elsewhere, the paper looks at a new, and haunting, appeal into a 30-year-old murder that has long baffled and intrigued.

image copyrightPSNI/PA
image captionInga Maria Hauser was found dead in 1988, just days after arriving in Northern Ireland

A recording of Inga Maria Hauser singing and playing guitar has been released in the hope that it can help track down whoever killed the German national.

Her body was found in a remote part of a County Antrim forest in 1988, just days after she arrived on a ferry from Scotland.

The recording has been released by her family in Munich to Keeley Moss, who has authored a blog about Ms Hauser's murder.

No Stone Unturned

The Irish News, meanwhile, focuses its front page, and two pages inside, on new revelations carried in a documentary about the murder of six men in Loughinisland in 1994.

The film, No Stone Unturned by Oscar-winning film maker Alex Gibney, claims that a wife of a suspected gunman named him to the police shortly after the murders, says the paper.

image captionThe six men who died in Loughinisland: (From top left) Adrian Rogan, Barney Green, Dan McCreanor, (from bottom left) Eamon Byrne, Malcolm Jenkinson and Patsy O'Hare

It's also claimed she wrote to a former SDLP councillor naming three men involved and implicating herself in the planning of the killings.

Both the man and his wife were arrested but released without charge - the couple, who are still married, were tracked down by the filmmakers.

Direct rule to divorce

Over in the Daily Mirror, the front page reports that Prime Minister Theresa May will stand by the DUP-Conservative Party deal to supply £1bn to Northern Ireland, despite the prospect of direct rule moving ever closer.

There's even more politics inside with reaction to Wednesday's news that NI Secretary James Brokenshire will now legislate for a Northern Ireland budget in two weeks unless the parties can reach agreement.

In the News Letter, political editor Sam McBride starkly outlines his take on what a budget will mean for Northern Ireland - direct rule.

"The reality is that if Westminster passes Stormont's budget it will unquestionably be an act of direct rule, with the UK parliament reclaiming an area which has been devolved," he writes.

image copyrightPAcemaker
image captionThe papers have reacted to James Brokenshire's announcement that he will set an NI budget unless a deal is reached

Meanwhile, the Irish News focuses on the subject of MLAs' pay and says that they "have moved closer to a pay cut" following the failure to strike a deal at Stormont.

It reports that Mr Brokenshire has said he will be seeking advice to "reflect the current circumstances in MLA pay".

Will pay be cut? The Irish News' political correspondent John Manley writes that it is "one of the few incentives left" to Mr Brokenshire, but that the NI secretary does not "seem especially determined to cut assembly members' salaries unless it coincides with the imposition of direct rule, whereby Stormont may be mothballed entirely".

It's all sounding a bit grim, to be honest, and one can't help but think maybe divorce is inevitable.

And on that front, it's possibly good news in the Daily Mirror - it reports that the divorce process could soon move online.

Under the current system anyone seeking a divorce must fill out forms and send them to court but a review published last month suggested ways technology could streamline the process.

The bad news? The paper says it's unlikely anything will change until Stormont gets back up and running.

Love - it really can be a vicious circle.