Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Brexit third way and 'cruel benefits system'

grey line
Daily Mirror Monday Image copyright Daily Mirror
grey line
News Letter
grey line

As the prime minister prepares to set her Brexit withdrawal agreement before Parliament, the DUP features on the front pages of two NI papers.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with DUP leader Arlene Foster's insistence that there is a "third way" on Brexit.

The DUP is "adamant" that there is another way between a no-deal Brexit and the withdrawal, says the paper.

The Telegraph says the prime minister is expected to visit Northern Ireland in the next 48 hours.

The DUP believes that key elements of her agreement can still be renegotiated, reports the paper.

Inside, the Telegraph features a photograph of broadcaster Michael Parkinson leafing through old photographs in George Best's family home in Belfast.

The paper says "Parky" made a "sentimental journey to the Cregagh family home of his late close pal, Belfast football legend George Best."

Image caption Chat show host Michael Parkinson interviews George Best in 2001

Sunday was the 13th anniversary of the footballer's death.

Mr Parkinson tells the paper that Best was "deeply flawed in the sense that he he had an illness".

But he says he was a good companion, funny, self effacing and with a keen wit.

The News Letter's front page lead keeps the Brexit theme but focuses on the words of DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

Opposition among Tory MPs to the Irish backstop is growing by the day, he tells the paper.

"It is a growing number across both wings of the Tory Party. And some people are putting their faith in the Labour Party running to the rescue of the prime minister. I think this deal is actually united people against it," he says.

Image caption DUP leader Arlene Foster argues that there is a "third way" on Brexit


The Daily Mirror features a full-page picture of Declan McMullan, 26, from County Down who has locked-in syndrome after he suffered a heart attack at just 19 years old.

The headlines read: "Shameless" and "Benefits Cruelty" and feature a list of all the things that he cannot do: "Can't move, can't talk, can't see."

The paper carries an interview with his father, John, who is furious at the new Personal Independence Payment benefits system and the assessment process entailed.

"I knew Declan was never going to be turned down for PIP. It was just the stupidity of the process and the fact even he did not get full points," John McMullan tells the Mirror.

"He is probably one of the most disabled people in Northern Ireland. How disabled do you have to be?"

The Department for Communities told the paper that assessors conform to "a rigorous set of quality standards".

A spokesman said more people were awarded PIP at the highest rate of benefit that under the old Disability Living Allowance (DLA) system.

'Absolute devastation'

The Irish News says the crash that took the life of a man in his 20s in Ballycastle, County Antrim, at the weekend had "torn at the hearts" of a rural community.

The paper reports that Sean McAlonen was a passenger in van that crashed at Glenshesk Road just before 06:00 GMT on Sunday.

Two other men in the van were taken to hospital. Their injuries are not life threatening.

The paper quotes Sinn Féin councillor Cara McShane who says the news has caused "absolute devastation" in the town.

"The family are so well known and respected and Sean was a lovely young fellow. This has ripped through the community," she tells the paper.

Image caption Pat Hume with her husband, former SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume - 'a man of simple truths'

Pat Hume, wife of former SDLP leader John Hume, was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Irish Red Cross at the weekend.

The paper quotes former SDLP leader Mark Durkan who called her "a perpetual tonic" and a "source of heart and hope".

The Irish News reports that on receiving her award, Mrs Hume paid tribute to her husband and his "simple truths".

One of those was "spill our sweat and not our blood", she told those gathered at the ceremony, and another was "you can't eat a flag".

Dream wheels

Finally, the News Letter travels back in time with a photograph of a 1938 Citroen Traction Avant Light 12 - she's 80, extremely rare and the pride and joy of David Selfridge from Randalstown. She gets the best of care.

"My wife says if the house ever gets cold, she'll go down and sit n the car because it's warmer {in its special garage}," he tells the paper.