Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: ATM thefts and happy teachers

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
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News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Cash machine thefts are back on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper leads with a dramatic statement from an eyewitness to a recent cash machine theft in Ballymena.

"We saw police car yards behind ATM raiders," reads the headline The witness tells the paper that police were "almost on top of the thieves" but were "in no rush to get them".

"I could drive faster. They didn't even flash the lights," says the witness.

It comes after PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd refuted claims made by the Telegraph on Monday that limits on police car speeds meant the cash machine raiders could flee.

On Tuesday, the paper reports that police officers are reluctant to break speed limits after new recording technology was introduced.

'All-time high'

The Catholic/Protestant divide makes the lead in The Irish News.

Its headline reads: "Religious divide in schools at widest".

The paper reports that the number of Catholic children in education is "at an all-time high".

"Official government figures also reveal that the percentage of pupils who identify as Protestant is plummeting," writes the paper's education correspondent Simon Doyle.

"There are more Catholic children at nursery, primary, secondary, grammar and special schools."

The paper reports that it has been suggested by those who monitor social trends that Catholics will outnumber Protestants by 2021.

The News Letter leads with a report that significant changes are under way for proposals to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

It says that the Northern Ireland Office has been sifting through over 17,000 responses to its consultation on the Stormont House Agreement.

DUP legacy spokesman Sir Jeffrey Donaldson tells the paper: "As a result of discussions we have been having at Westminster, we believe the government is going to be making significant changes to the legacy proposals in response to the concerns raised on behalf of innocent victims."

'Do the sums'

Finally, the Daily Mirror leads with a nifty pun and a rallying call for hard working teachers.

"Finally it adds up for teachers" reads the headline.

The paper reports that teachers could be in line for a 4.25% pay rise backdated for two years, if a leaked settlement draft is agreed.

The Mirror says overworked school staff in Northern Ireland have called for a long time for action on wages, workloads, special education and resources.

However, union official Jacquie Reid tells the paper that it is "very disappointing" that a leak has happened before a deal has been sealed.