NI Papers: Five-star anger over Stormont, GAA stadium limbo

News Letter front pageImage source, News Letter

Tuesday's post-bank holiday papers are a mixed bag - a five-star hotel owner hits out at NI's lack of a functioning executive, a question mark hangs over the future of a GAA stadium and a footballer's warning about gambling make the front pages.

To heavily paraphrase Prince/Sinéad O'Connor, "It's been 589 days....since you took your devolved institutions away". Or at least those are the figures the papers are using.

Northern Ireland has been without a government since the DUP and Sinn Féin split in a bitter row.

One hotelier isn't happy, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

The owner of The Merchant, Bill Wolsey, says he "won't spend another pound on new projects" while Stormont remains in political limbo.

While Northern Ireland cannot technically receive the, ahem, accolade for surpassing Belgium's no government record, the paper says the figure represents a "milestone of shame".

Mr Wolsey says the "inertia" which comes through having no executive affects everyone, from tourists to employees.

He adds that nothing new will be started until the "difficulties" of Brexit and Stormont are overcome, because business "don't like uncertainty".

Image source, Gaa
Image caption,
An aerial view of the proposed stadium at Casement Park as unveiled by the GAA in October 2016

The problems with the re-development of the The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) stadium at Casement Park in west Belfast rumble on, reports The Irish News.

The stadium has been closed since 2013 and plans have faced opposition from some residents.

The GAA submitted a new planning application to build the stadium in February 2017.

Now, the head of Antrim GAA says if progress is not made on the project soon it may have to be downgraded to a county ground instead of a provincial stadium.

Colin Donnelly tells the paper that a decision needs to be made: "I don't think it's going to be good for the country to be waiting another 12 months."

"We're losing a generation who will never get the chance to play there.

Mr Donnelly tells the paper that county players have had to train and play matches at other grounds.

A re-think is needed if "we don't get a firm decision on planning at the turn of the year", he adds.

Ulster GAA was unavailable for comment.

Image source, Other
Image caption,
Jamie Tomelty has opened up about his gambling addiction

A stark warning about the possible pitfalls of gambling leads the News Letter .

Footballer Jamie Tomelty, 34, opens up to the paper about an addiction which "ruined his career".

The Cookstown man, who plays for Coagh United, having played for Linfield and Portadown, says he thinks he lost about £100,000 over the years.

"I've been trying to quit for years but have only really quit for the last two or thee weeks," he admits.

He posted a picture of himself banning himself from a local bookmaker on Facebook.

"I'd tried to deal with it privately for a long time. I didn't tell anyone about it for years - I just keep falling and falling.

Mr Tomelty tells the paper while telling people is "scary" he "needs the pressure".

Image source, PAcemaker
Image caption,
The Auld Lammas Fair, a traditional fair held in Ballycastle, dates back to the 17th century

As the old song goes: "Did you treat your Mary Ann to some dulse and yellowman,

"At the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O?"

The papal visit wasn't the only thing happening at the weekend - further north thousands turned out for the first day of what is believed to be Ireland's oldest traditional fair.

The festival, which finishes on Tuesday is expected to attract about 200,000 visitors to Ballycastle in County Antrim.

The tradition has been running for nearly 400 years and the papers are full of pictures of horse sellers, musicians and children enjoying some sticky yellowman.

Further west, there was a colourful display on the Causeway Coast on Sunday, despite the unrelenting downpour.

Portrush played host to the Mini Festival which attracted almost 1,000 Minis and finished with a cavalcade along the beach, reports the Irish News.

The little cars, in every colour of the rainbow, are proudly lined up against the backdrop of the town's seafront.