Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Thursday's newspapers.

"Thrill Bill," says the Mirror as it reports that he has promised to help Northern Ireland through the recession, "just as he steered us on the path to peace".

"Return of the great charmer" is the headline in the Belfast Telegraph.

Its political editor, David Gordon, writes that "like an ageing rock star" it seems Mr Clinton couldn't turn down "yet another comeback gig in Northern Ireland".

In a leader, the paper says he issued a timely warning on the danger of plunging Northern Ireland into recession if the government's cuts are too deep.

It takes that as an endorsement of its own position on the spending cuts, and it hopes Mr Clinton's presence will encourage more US investment.

This sentiment is echoed in the Irish News, but it leads with the story of a school with no pupils.

Beechfield Primary in east Belfast is being closed, but the paper reports that the teaching staff are still turning up each day as they work out their three months' notice.

The News Letter devotes its biggest headline to the decision by the PUP to retain its links with loyalist paramilitaries.


The Irish Independent leads with the news that the final price tag for rescuing the Anglo Irish Bank could reach 34bn euros.

The paper says the result will be that the government has less money to spend and the budget in December will be even tougher.

The Irish Times reports on its front page that the government may take majority control of another bank, the AIB.

Its biggest headline, though, goes to the political fallout from the financial crisis.

An opinion poll carried out on behalf of the paper finds the Labour Party leapfrogging Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to become the most popular political grouping in the Republic.

Its leader, Eamon Gilmore, enjoys a popularity rating of nearly 50%, while Fine Gael's Enda Kenny is on 25% and the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, languishes on 19%.

'Biggest beasts'

David Miliband and his wife Louise are the most photographed people of the day, featuring on the front of the Times, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph and on the inside pages of quite a few others.

The Mail says her relieved expression said it all. It was the smile, according to the paper, of a woman who had won her husband back.

But the commentators agree that his departure will be a heavy loss for Labour - it's lost "one of its biggest beasts," is how the Mail puts it.

The Guardian says he joins a distinguished list of the best leaders Labour never had.

The Sun thinks the party has lost its best hope - and it wonders who on the front bench will speak up for the middle-class voters Labour needs to return it to power.

Finally, news that the Italian tourist minister is not amused by a new holiday guide.

It's a new "app" for the iPhone giving people a light-hearted look at countries around the world.

But as the Daily Telegraph reports, the Italian government failed to see the joke after the country was described as the home of pizza, the Mafia and scooters.

Britain is characterised by tea, a weird sense of humour, football hooligans and rain.

And the Irish government might like to take a look at a description that includes leprechauns, pubs, shamrock, drinkers and red hair.

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