NI paper review: Blood-red hands and pre-arranged fight

By Niall Glynn

Image source, Daily Mirror

The continuing fall-out from the murder of journalist Lyra McKee and the stabbing of a teenage girl in a pre-arranged fight make Tuesday's papers.

Several papers feature pictures of Ms McKee's friends putting blood-red hand prints on the windows of the office of a dissident republican political group.

The Daily Mirror says the protesters marched to Junior McDaid House in Londonderry.

It says there was a stand-off with supporters of the Saoradh group.

"New IRA admits Lyra's murder" is the front page headline in The Irish News.

The paper says that in a statement on Monday night, the New IRA said it was responsible for the "tragic killing".

Image caption,
A protester puts a red handprint on the office of a dissident republican group

While it issued "full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee" it also blamed "British Crown forces" for "provoking" the rioting that preceded Ms McKee's murder.

Inside the paper, the SDLP's Dolores Kelly criticises the apology, saying the blame for Ms McKee's murder "lies squarely with the person who pulled the trigger and those who sent him out on the street".

Meanwhile, in its front page story, the Belfast Telegraph says that a 15-year-old girl suffered life-changing injuries after being stabbed during a "pre-arranged fight" in Lurgan,

A court case heard that the teenager's carotid artery was severed.

The details emerged as a 14-year-old girl appeared in court in connection with the incident that happened on Good Friday.

A detective said a screenshot of a conversation between the pair allegedly refers to having "a fair dig to get this sorted".

The picture on the front of the paper shows hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine on Portstewart Strand.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Northern Ireland was eight degrees warmer than Majorca on Monday

The Telegraph says that temperatures in Northern Ireland were eight degrees higher that on the Spanish island of Majorca on Monday.

The News Letter leads with the sudden death of the principal of Portadown College.

It says Simon Harper became unwell after completing a walk while on holiday in Scotland.

Among those paying tribute to him are former education minister Peter Weir and Ireland rugby captain Rory Best, a past pupil of Portadown College.

'Homicidal republicanism'

Inside the Belfast Telegraph, former Provisional IRA member Anthony McIntyre, who is now a journalist, says that despite the widespread revulsion following the murder of Ms McKee, "homicidal republicanism has probably not inflicted its last atrocity, only its latest".

He compares the murder of Ms McKee, claimed by the "New IRA" to the PIRA's murder of census worker Joanne Mathers in Derry in 1981.

"Our IRA had no more right to shoot dead 29-year-old Joanne Mathers as their IRA had to shoot dead 29-year-old Lyra McKee," he says.

"A rain dance will get better odds on ending the current sunny weather than armed republican actions will on securing the end of British involvement in Ireland."

In The Irish News, journalist Leona O'Neill, who was with Lyra McKee after she was shot says she "did not deserve to die like that".

"She deserved to live a long and happy life, campaigning, writing, talking, loving, laughing, changing mindsets and doing good things."

She says those who took part in the rioting leading up to the murder were born into peace after the Good Friday Agreement and know nothing of the "brutality and barbarity" of the Troubles.

"Yet they want to drag us back back to that place, to bring violence back to our streets, to make murder commonplace again."

Image caption,
Hundreds of people were evacuated due to a major gorse fire in Newcastle

The good and the bad of the sunny weather features in the News Letter and Mirror.

Both show pictures of crowds enjoying the sunshine on County Down beaches - Crawfordsburn in the News Letter and Helen's Bay in the Mirror.

The News Letter says that temperatures soared to 21.4 degrees, "the hottest Easter Monday ever recorded".

However, the down side of the hot dry weather is also on view, as both papers feature dramatic pictures of a major gorse fire in Newcastle.

The fire service said a change in wind direction stopped the fire from moving towards a caravan park.

One woman staying at the caravan site tells the Mirror that the fire had not kept people away, saying that it "is packed here today".

However, she adds: "If this was done deliberately I think it's disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

"A lot of people's lives were put in danger last night."

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