Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Transfer tests and a priest's letter

paper review

Two familiar stories dominate the front pages in Northern Ireland on Monday - Brexit and abortion.

"Brexit chaos" is the stark headline on the front of the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper says that the government is in turmoil over a 12-week EU deadline to sort out the Irish border.

It says the deadline comes as the DUP threatened to pull out of its deal to prop up the government if the latter agrees a Brexit deal that treats NI differently from the rest of the UK.

With no deal in sight, the paper says the PSNI is withdrawing from the sale of three border stations in case they are needed to police the border after Brexit.

The News Letter leads with Arlene Foster's threat to pull the plug on support for the Conservatives.

Mrs Foster told Sky News: "For us, our only red line is that we are not treated any different from the rest of the United Kingdom, that there are no trade barriers put up between Northern Ireland and our biggest market, which, of course, is Great Britain."

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Ian Paisley says he is making arrangements to publish a letter from a priest

Staying with the DUP, The Irish News front page features Ian Paisley's claim that a Catholic priest told him he would urge parishioners to vote for the party over its stance on abortion.

It says that when he was challenged for further details on Twitter, Mr Paisley "remained silent" and adds that the diocese of Down and Connor was not aware of any letter.

Taking up the story, the Belfast Telegraph says that Mr Paisley has indicated he will publish the letter from the priest.

It says he is "in the process of making arrangements" to do so.

In the News Letter, Alex Kane says whether or not the DUP does attract some nationalist voters over issues such as abortion, it may lose some of its own core voters if it compromises on issues such as same sex marriage in order to get the assembly up and running again.

Meanwhile, The Irish News says that parents are angry over plans to make a child's home parish the deciding factor in whether they sit the 11-plus to get into Catholic schools.

Image caption The Irish News says changes in Catholic school selection criteria are being brought in

The paper says the plan is being pioneered in Kilkeel, where St Louis Grammar School is to expand while St Columban's College will close.

The new, larger, school will adopt a bi-lateral approach to ensure children from the parishes of Lower and Upper Mourne will be admitted through non-academic criteria.

Up to 40% of Year 8 places will then be "available to children from the wider region by means of academic selection".

There are plans to bring in a similar approach in Downpatrick, The Irish News says.

It's a common enough occurrence for someone to leave something in a taxi, but it's fair to say that a bag of cocaine would be one of the less common items.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A caller asked a Belfast taxi firm for his cocaine to be returned

The Daily Mirror says that a person who left the drugs in a cab contacted Park Taxis in north Belfast to ask for it back.

The company's John McAlea said that a pensioner who discovered it had no idea what it was.

It's been a scorching spell of weather recently and the good news, according to the Belfast Telegraph, is that it's set to continue.

However, it says there is one blip on the horizon - possible downpours and flooding in the west today.

You have been warned.

Image copyright ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Image caption Arlene Foster congratulated Fermanagh on their weekend triumph

Finally, back to Arlene Foster in The Irish News and Belfast Telegraph.

The DUP leader tweeted her congratulations to her home county Fermanagh after they reached the Ulster final by beating Monaghan at the weekend.

That drew a quick response from player Ciaran McBrien: "Cheers mate, we have a ticket saved for you for the final."