What the papers say


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

Both the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News lead with the death of estate agent Killian Scallon in what they describe as his fume-filled house in Fermanagh.

Both papers report that Mr Scallon's wife Pauline is critically ill in hospital. They also note that he was a nephew of the Eurovision winner Dana.

The Irish News says the police have ruled out a gas leak, but there's speculation that the couple might have been overcome by fumes after lighting an open fire.

The News Letter says it was one of three tragedies in Northern Ireland in just one day, after a man died in a house fire and a lorry driver was killed in a collision near Strabane.

The paper says lorry driver Declan Harvey had been the last surviving member of a family of four children.

His father tells the paper he doesn't know how he'll cope after the loss of two daughters and two sons.


The Mirror devotes its biggest headline to the news that an officer in the PSNI earned more than £60,000 in overtime last year.

The paper says the force paid out £44m in overtime, and only 700 officers took home their basic wage.

The Irish Independent reports that homeowners in the Republic face paying 80 euros a month in property taxes as the government tries to address the budget deficit. The paper says the tax would bring in 1bn euros a year.

The Irish Times says the Minister for Social Protection, Eamon O'Cuiv, has signalled that pensioners may not be exempt from government cuts.

It quotes him as saying: "To say that no-one over 65 years can afford to make a contribution is patently nonsense."

He added that some retired people had pensions "worth millions".

But the paper points out that two independent TDs who support the government have expressed their opposition to cutting pensions or carers' allowances.


The most iconic image of the day appears on many of the front pages.

It shows a hooded demonstrator kicking in a window at Conservative Party headquarters in London. The background of the image is lit up by flames.

The Guardian says ministers were shaken by some of the most violent scenes on the streets of the capital since the poll tax riots in 1990.

The Times says the government is watching to see if the disorder represents a change of mood, designed to emulate events in France and Greece.

The Mail blames anarchist and far-left groups for "whipping up the student protesters into a frenzy".

"Hijacking of a very middle class protest," says its headline.

But for the Independent, it marks the end of the coalition government's "era of consensus".

There are questions asked about the police response.

The Guardian says they were caught out by the scale of events.


Finally, a Monty Python sketch comes to life for passengers on a luxury cruise liner.

It's Spam, Spam and more Spam for those on board the Carnival Splendor, an American ship which broke down off the coast of Mexico.

The Times reports that instead of steak, wine and the latest Hollywood movies for entertainment, the passengers are having to make do with cold Spam and Pop Tarts, airlifted on board by the US Navy.

The paper has some helpful recipes for cold luncheon meat.

Alternatively, it says, with 40 feet of rope, a wooden pole and several hundred empty tins, you could make a fairly workable raft.

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