Northern Ireland

Thursday's headlines: George Best statue and infected blood

Daily Mirror front page Image copyright Daily Mirror

Was it the Best way to remember one of Northern Ireland's football legends?

That's the question being asked on the front pages of Thursday's Belfast Telegraph and News Letter.

A new statue of George Best was unveiled at Windsor Park in Belfast on Wednesday, which would have been the former Manchester United player's 73rd birthday.

While some fans gave it the red card, others argued that the sculpture was like him, with one fan in the News Letter remarking that it was "better than the Cristiano Ronaldo one at least".

A Belfast teenager who says she was treated like a leper after her mother's blood was infected makes the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.

The story also features in most of the other newspapers.

Image caption Danielle Mullan says pupils would not play netball with her at school because of her mother's infected blood

Danielle Mullan was speaking at an inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal, which is hearing evidence from people in Northern Ireland.

At 16 she became a carer for her mother Marie Cromie, who found out she had hepatitis C in 2005 and has had to have two liver transplants.

'Customised weapon'

A gun seen in a Stacey Dooley documentary was used to fire a volley of shots in west Belfast, according to The Irish News.

A video posted online last week shows masked men forming a guard of honour outside a wake for former INLA prisoner Michael McElkerney, who died last week.

It then shows one man firing shots in front of a cheering crowd.

The Irish News says the customised weapon was featured in the documentary-maker and Strictly Come Dancing star's programme Shot By My Neighbour, which was based in Northern Ireland.

Image caption Stacey Dooley's BBC documentary was aired in September

"Potential financial abuse" of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital also makes the front page of the newspaper.

The Belfast Trust previously said it deeply regretted not having acted sooner over abuse allegations at the hospital.

'Backseat tears'

The prime minister under pressure is the leading story on both the Daily Mirror and the News Letter.

Theresa May is facing pressure from her own MPs to resign after the Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom stepped down on Wednesday night over the PM's Brexit policy.

The Daily Mirror carries an image of a solemn-looking Theresa May sitting in the backseat of a car as it drove away from Parliament on Wednesday.

Its headline reads "Tears in the backseat 2", a nudge to their front page in 1990 when former prime minister Margaret Thatcher quit Number 10.

Meanwhile the News Letter reports that the next leader of the Conservative Party will put veterans at the top of their agenda, according to its MP Johnny Mercer.

And on a lighter note, in the Daily Mirror and Belfast Telegraph it's an Unbreakable - sorry - bond between Westlife and their fans.

The Irish four-piece packed out SSE Arena on Wednesday as they began their five-night run of their Twenty Tour in Belfast.

"This isn't a comeback - this is just chapter two," said Westlife manager Louis Walsh.