Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

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

Peter Robinson's remarks about segregated education cause a stir in the three Belfast papers.

He has labelled the current system as "educational apartheid" and says the state should no longer fund faith schools.

The Belfast Telegraph headline says the row is hotting up.

It quotes Mr Robinson's colleague, Martin McGuinness, who has warned him not to take on the Catholic Church.

In the Irish News, Donal Flanagan, chief executive of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, says the system in Northern Ireland was created by the state and not the schools.

Not everybody is critical of Mr Robinson.

In the News Letter , the chairman of the Assembly's Education Committee, Mervyn Storey, describes his remarks as "forward-looking and incisive".

He says Mr Robinson's critics fear a loss of power and control.

'Intrigued'

There are comments on all this in the leader columns as well.

The Irish News is intrigued by what Mr Robinson had to say and has a few theories to suggest.

Has he become committed to integrated education, it wonders.

Or was he floating an ambitious cost-cutting option which he knew would be rejected so that it would be easier to introduce enforced and severe measures elsewhere?

The Belfast Telegraph says it is time for all sides to calm down and consider proposals about integrated education on their merit.

If they do not, it says, integration will become yet another political football and the children, who are the most important consideration, will once again become pawns in an undignified educational row.

Elsewhere, Maurice Hayes in the Irish Independent says Mr Robinson's remarks deserve "more than a knee-jerk reaction".

He describes his intervention as "thoughtful and reflective of the divisive social effects of segregation".

The countdown to the public spending review is on.

The Daily Telegraph has that letter from business leaders backing the coalition's cuts.

The Telegraph says they speak with impressive clarity and optimism and their words are "a vote of confidence in George Osborne".

The Times highlights the latest economic forecast which suggests that Britain can avoid another slide into recession, provided firms continue to hire and invest.

And the Independent says even the Treasury is growing nervous about what it calls the Government's zeal for cutting.

Meanwhile, there is still plenty of economic anxiety in the Dublin papers.

Economic anxiety

The Irish Times reports that opposition finance politicians will receive detailed briefings on the state of the Republic's finances, with Brian Cowen appealing to the various parties to show unity of purpose to the international community.

A story in some of the papers will strike a chord in Northern Ireland - the issue of cheap drink.

We heard a lot about this last week and how Stormont plans to curb drink promotions.

The Mail says councils in England may be given powers to stop supermarkets selling cheap alcohol.

According to the Daily Express, young men and women can now get drunk for half the price of a bar of chocolate.

In the Sun, there is the view that the true cost of discounted alcohol is being picked up by taxpayers in the form of crime and soaring hospital admissions.

Finally, the Guardian reports that a doodle drawn by Damien Hirst in a Soho club at 0400 BST on Monday is being put up for auction this week.

He scribbled a quick sketch of three friends Dave, Nick and Mat when they approached him. Actually, they thought he was the footballer Dennis Wise.

The Guardian gives us pictures of Damien Hirst and Dennis Wise. No resemblance at all that I can see. But after a few drinks you never know.

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