What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

There's a growing debt crisis in Northern Ireland, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

It says thousands of households have been crippled by mounting levels of debt with more middle-class people than ever finding themselves in severe financial straits.

The paper has got its hands on figures which suggest about a fifth of the working population is now using at least half its income to service debt.

The Telegraph says it's easy to criticise people for living beyond their means.

But it says the banks must take responsibility as well. It says they're falling over each other to offer loans, and gullible people think easy loans will be easy to pay.


The Irish News is concerned by the security situation.

It turns its attention to the mortar bomb attack on Strand Road police station in Londonderry at the weekend.

It says police chiefs may be forced to spend millions reinforcing security bases across Northern Ireland, and they're concerned that dissident republicans have now perfected their bomb-making so that they can launch mortars successfully.

Meanwhile, most of the News Letter front page is given over to what it describes as one of the most infamous attacks of the Troubles.

This was the murder in 1971 of three young Scottish soldiers off the Ligoniel Road in Belfast.

The paper reports how their relatives gathered in Belfast on Sunday for the dedication of a permanent memorial.

Floral tributes

The News Letter this should encourage us to redouble our efforts to isolate all those who are the "enemy of our fragile peace".

And on that note, there's plenty of reaction as well to the shooting on the Shankill Road on Friday.

Several papers have pictures of floral tributes laid at the spot where the loyalist Bobby Moffett died.

A headline in the Mirror talks of a plea for peace.

It says the Shankill community is united in grief and revulsion.

In the cross-channel papers, the Mail sees the departure of David Laws as a heavy blow to the prime minister, to the coalition and possibly to the country's hopes of controlling the "terrifying deficit".

But he had to go, it says.

The Times says the coalition is wobbling.

The Independent says the new man at the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has the reputation of being serious and straightlaced.

It says that since the previous incumbent lasted just 18 days, Nick Clegg and David Cameron will be hoping Mr Alexander brings one quality to the role - a distinct lack of excitement.

'Elfin mischief'

Finally, we come to Eurovision and the papers are asking where did it all go wrong for the UK entry.

The song was called That Sounds Good to Me. Unfortunately, the Mail says, it didn't sound good to anyone else.

The Daily Telegraph says the UK may have come last but the show still got eight million viewers.

There's plenty of praise for Graham Norton. The Times likes his "elfin mischief" and says he had a well-balanced bad word for every contestant.

Of course, Ireland didn't do so well either, let's not forget.

In the Irish Times, Louis Walsh doesn't mince his words. He says Niamh Kavanagh's a great singer but she's a little bit long in the tooth.

The News Letter and others report on a firm using researchers with perfect pitch who have been counting the number of wrong notes.

Top of that list comes the Serbian singer who hit 117.

As for the UK singer, Josh Dubovie managed a mere 49.

Interviewed in several papers, he maintains that Saturday was the best night of his life.

The Sun has advice for him: "Set your sights a bit higher, mate."

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