What the papers say


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

The weekend attack on the police in west Belfast features in several papers.

The Irish News says the incident in which three officers were injured will have security forces scratching their heads because it was more reminiscent of 1920s rural Ireland than Belfast in 2010.

It says it was a back to basics attack, involving one man on a pushbike armed with a hand-grenade.

In the Belfast Telegraph, security writer Brian Rowan says he was out shopping at the weekend when he got a call on his mobile from the dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann, claiming responsibility for what happened.

He says attacks like this are about trying to push the police away from the community but he says the chief constable is determined this will not happen.

'Human misery'

The editorial in the Irish News says the violence will make no contribution to any political objective and can only result in human misery on a shocking scale.

Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports on the activities of the Real IRA.

It says they've issued a statement claiming to have killed five people, four of them in the Republic, over the past 13 months.

They've claimed a drugs connection in all these killings and say they've also executed drug dealers on the continent who believed they were safe, having fled the country.

Elsewhere, there's a row in the News Letter about poppies.

The paper says there was outrage over the weekend after scores of Celtic fans held up banners at their match on Saturday describing the poppy as bloodstained.

They were objecting to the fact that next weekend Celtic players will be wearing the emblem on their shirts.

'Lancing the boil'

The News Letter points out that the club apologised last night and say they're investigating.

But DUP MP Gregory Campbell isn't happy, saying Celtic excused and prevaricated instead of lancing the boil.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that some people dying from cancer are burning their clothes and books just to keep warm, according to the charity Macmillan Cancer.

It says some of the most ill people in Northern Ireland are living in appalling conditions, and wants Stormont to take action.

The paper also carries a picture on the front page which will shock, showing some of the 33 whales found dead at the weekend on a beach in Donegal.

The paper describes what happened as a tragedy.

In the cross-channel papers, there's much debate about benefit cuts and the plans for welfare reform.

'Spiral of despair'

In the Sun, the Archbishop of Canterbury is described as a "chump" for his weekend comments.

He says plans to force the long-term unemployed to do manual work could drive people into a downward spiral and into despair.

But the Sun says it's perfectly reasonable for the government to try to reawaken the work ethic in people who've got used to a life on benefits.

The Mail agrees, saying it's precisely the Archbishop's "spiral of despair" that the government is trying to break.

The Irish Times has a story about a politician's expenses. It has found a letter in which one politician expressed concern about his personal use of a car hired for election canvassing.

Surely some mistake, the paper wonders? Well, actually, no. This all happened 90 years ago and the politician was Michael Collins.

Apparently he wrote to his election agent offering to pay half the bill because some of the journeys were personal trips and apologising for not settling the matter sooner.

The letter's dated 4 August 1922. It's not clear from the story whether he did actually pay up or not, because just 18 days later he was dead.

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