Northern Ireland

Friday's headlines: George Best and a knuckle duster

Daily Mirror front page Image copyright Daily Mirror
News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

Knives, alcohol and even a knuckle duster make the front page of Friday's News Letter.

The newspaper reports that these items were confiscated from people entering courthouses in Northern Ireland last year, and were returned on the way out.

In total, 439 items were taken by security staff with items ranging from bottles of vodka to drugs.

While many have taken to social media to criticise a new statue of George Best, sculptor Tony Currie hits back in the News Letter.

The bronze statue of the Northern Ireland and Manchester United football legend has provoked strong reactions from fans and critics alike.

Image copyright PA/Pacemaker
Image caption Some people don't see the similarities between Best and his recreation in bronze

Mr Currie, from west Belfast, told the newspaper: "People can knock it. But the family is happy, the fans are happy. That's all that matters."

Meanwhile The Daily Mirror leads with the headline: "Boy, 12, held over bomb attack".

Petrol bombs were thrown at police during a security alert near a polling station in Londonderry on Thursday.

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Media captionPolice were at the scene of a security alert when they were attacked

Five petrol bombs were thrown after a suspicious device was found on Moss Road, close to St Paul's Primary School.

Three boys, two aged 17 and one aged 12, were arrested.

Inside the Daily Mirror, attacks on nurses are now "part of the norm".

The newspaper quotes an anonymous post on the Royal College of Nursing website which also said a lack of experience among some colleagues has helped "contribute to an unsafe environment for parents".

Economy woes

Claims that Northern Ireland's economy stands to lose almost £1bn if the Executive is not restored this year is the main story in the Belfast Telegraph.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Stormont has been without a devolved government since January 2017

Speaking at a dinner in Belfast on Thursday, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) boss Carolyn Fairbairn issued the stark warning and urged politicians to ensure power-sharing talks do not break down into further stalemate at Stormont.

"Business is crying out for compromise because the cost of failure now would be so great," she said.

The story is also published in all the other newspapers.

Northern Ireland has been without devolved government since January 2017, when the DUP and Sinn Féin executive collapsed in a row over a botched green energy scheme.

Civil servants have been running public services, but must be guided by decisions made by the executive before it collapsed.

'Disappeared role'

A striking image of a tourist bus driving alongside an INLA killer's funeral procession also makes the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.

Martin McElkerney's funeral is also the main story in the Irish News. It reports that mourners heard he "played a key role" in the recovery of the remains of Disappeared victim, Seamus Ruddy.

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

A book given to Lord Pirrie - the man who helped Harland and Wolff become the biggest shipbuilder in the world - is to go on display in Northern Ireland for the first time in more than a decade, the Irish News also reports.

It includes praise from shipyard workers on the businessman, and will be at the Titanic Hotel on Sunday and Monday.