Northern Ireland

NI newspapers: 'Battle of the Boney' and dropping the gun

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Simmering tensions over a small number of loyalist bonfires ignited on the Eleventh Night, and details of sporadic disorder fills the front pages.

Loyalists hijacked buses and burned cars in Belfast and north Down after police moved in to remove material from two pyres that were deemed dangerous.

The Belfast Telegraph describes it as a "night of chaos" while the Daily Mirror dubs it the "Battle of the Boney".

At one point, Belfast City Airport was shut due to a security alert.

'Alarming'

The News Letter reports that masked men ordered passengers off a bus in Newtownards before torching the vehicle.

It says the police had received a warning that the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in east Belfast intended to "orchestrate and participate in serious disorder".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A bus was hijacked and set alight in Newtownards

In Londonderry, the PSNI blamed dissident republican paramilitaries for a gun attack at the city's walls, in which they believe an automatic weapon was used in an attempt to murder officers

The Belfast Telegraph carries of photograph of police using a ladder along the walls to search for embedded bullets in the historic monument.

The paper and others report on a fifth night of violence in Derry between Wednesday and Thursday as republican youths threw petrol bombs and stones towards the mainly-Protestant Fountain estate.

In its editorial, the Irish News says the "deeply alarming" sectarian attacks are putting community relations in the city under serious strain.

Image caption In Derry, republican have burnt out vehicles and fired shots near the city's walls

But it adds it was "extremely significant" that a group of residents from the Bogside walked to the Fountain estate earlier this week in a "show of solidarity with their Protestant neighbours".

The paper leads with the sudden death of a woman from west Belfast during a family holiday in Turkey.

It says there are reports that the 37-year-old mother may have fallen from a balcony.

The heartbroken family of William Dunlop also feature prominently in all the papers, as the road racer was laid to rest in his home town of Ballymoney.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mourners lined the streets of Ballymoney for William Dunlop's funeral

The News Letter says the scenes were "sadly reminiscent" of the funeral of his father, Robert, a decade ago, who also died as the result of a racing accident.

'Lost and found'

An embarrassing and bizarre security breach in the Republic of Ireland makes headlines in the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph.

A sub-machine gun, and ammunition, belonging to the gardaĆ­ (Irish police) reportedly fell out of the boot of a car driven by an "elite anti-terror" unit.

The weapon was in a bag which was picked up by a woman who then jumped on a tram.

However, undoubtedly much to the relief of officers, she took the bag to a garda station and handed it in as lost property.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said danger had been averted by the actions of a "very civic-minded citizen" but the incident was a matter of grave concern.

'Hair to the throne'

In a breach of protocol, the country' royal guests, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, got up close and personal with the Irish public as they continued their Dublin tour.

A young boy grabbed hold Prince Harry's beard as he met young GAA fans at Croke Park stadium, while another tried to play with Meghan's coiffured tresses.

Image copyright Dominic Lipinski/PA
Image caption A young GAA player couldn't resist stroking Prince Harry's beard

It was a case of "hair to the throne," according to the Daily Mirror, which adds that the children were not the only ones keen to get too close for comfort.

The paper says Harry and Meghan's spotlight was almost stolen by another couple - Brod and Sioda - two Bernese Mountain dogs belonging to Irish President Michael D Higgins.

The dogs reportedly bounded over to greet the couple and "lick, rather than press the flesh".

A "staunchly nationalist" Irish village has been enthusiastically supporting England in the World Cup, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

That's because the team's top scorer, Harry Kane, has strong Irish links, particularly to the County Galway village of Letterfrack.

His late grandfather emigrated from the village and set up home in England, but Kane still has several relatives, and now many fans, in the area.

The paper says the local pub, run by the "aptly named" Sally Lyons, has been giving out free drinks every time Kane scored, including his penalties.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The drinks were on the Lyons' family, every time Harry Kane scored

England's exit from the competition after defeat to Croatia may come as a relief to these Lyons however, as the family got stung for seven free rounds and didn't expect the team to last so long.

The Telegraph claims that Kane once told Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill that he was interested in playing for the Republic of Ireland, before "England beat them to the punch".

Joke with a jag

The paper also reports on a bit of a "Father Ted" moment in Mid and East Antrim Council, where the new mayor and deputy mayor were congratulated on their appointments in style more appropriate for a "Lovely Girls" contest.

The women, both 26, were told that if there was a "Rose of Tralee-type pageant for mayor and deputy mayor" then they would "win by a country mile".

The comments were made by independent councillor Paul Maguire, who prefaced his remarks by hoping he was "not in breach of a code of conduct".

Mayor Lindsay Millar tells the paper she was not offended in the slightest by the "well-meaning" remarks.

However, Green Party MLA Clare Bailey delivered a jagged response, suggesting that the council invest in some "gender training" for its public representatives.

"This is probably a case of Councillor Maguire seeking some attention, so I hope the thorns don't snag him," she said.