NI paper review: Pride flag row, border poll 'U-turn'

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Rainbow flagImage source, AFP/Getty Images
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Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon councillor disagree over the flying of the rainbow flag

A DUP attempt to block a proposal to fly the rainbow flag from civic buildings makes headlines on Wednesday.

The News Letter's top story concerns a DUP attempt to "block a proposal to fly the rainbow flag" from civic buildings in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area.

The party maintains that it is its "democratic right" to oppose the proposal, the paper reports.

The DUP has decided to use the "call-in" mechanism to discuss the proposal.

The local government act provides that a decision of a council or one of its committees can be called in for reconsideration if at least 15% of councillors request it.

Border poll

The Irish News front page picture is of a smiling Dominic Murray and his sisters.

Mr Murray, who was 67, died on Monday following an accident at his south Belfast home.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with an exclusive, revealing that a man who allegedly named a woman at the centre of high-profile rape trial on social media is to face trial.

The suspect is to be charged with breaching the anonymity of the complainant in the case involving Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, the paper reports.

Both Mr Jackson and Mr Olding were acquitted of all charges in relation to the case.

Image source, News Letter

Politics, and the Belfast Telegraph gives almost three pages of coverage to Sinn Féin leader's "U-turn over border poll" as well as discussing the issue in its editorial column.

The paper draws a contrast between Mary Lou McDonald's apparent coolness on the prospect of an immediate border poll in the context of Brexit uncertainty and seeming to have returned to the traditional Sinn Féin position of demanding a referendum just a day later.

Image source, PA
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Unionists claim Mary Lou McDonald has "no plan" and "no answers" to achieving a united Ireland

The Belfast Telegraph reports that this shift has prompted "derision from unionists".

Columnist Ellis O'Hanlon speculates that the shift in position is evidence that Ms McDonald is under the influence of hard-line elements within Sinn Féin.

The paper's editorial views the episode as highly embarrassing for Ms McDonald and proof that former leader Gerry Adams "hasn't gone away you know".

'Zero or below'

In the Irish News opinion pages, Brian Feeney dismisses the possibility that fresh talks at Stormont could deliver the return of power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

He writes that "the chances of devolution being up and running in the next 10 months are close to zero or below".

He accuses to the UK government of "poisoning the concept of devolution" due to their Westminster deal with the DUP.

However, the Irish News editorial reiterates the paper's position that power-sharing must be restored, though its optimism is tempered.

What do you mean 'we'?

In its editorial the News Letter chides the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar after he told reporters in Dublin that "we" would intend to get the parties together for talks again in the autumn.

The taoiseach's use of the first person plural is a step too far for the News Letter.

It takes the opportunity to remind Mr Varadkar that whilst both the Irish and British governments are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, "that does not mean that they have joint stewardship of Northern Ireland".

Image source, PA Wire
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She may have slipped below the waves a long time ago, but Titanic is still making the news

The Daily Mirror has a story on the Titanic, the ill-fated Belfast built ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage.

An expert is backing a campaign to "bring thousands of artefacts to Belfast - despite fears they were recovered by "grave-robbing", the paper reports.