What the papers say


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

Plenty of comment and analysis on the big bail-out, of course.

Some interesting perspectives in the letters columns. The Irish Times has a letter from an English financial expert who says that some years ago he was asked by a major Irish bank to do an analysis of all their bad debts over several years.

One recommendation he made was that the bank should have differential pricing according to which industry it was lending to and according to the general economic outlook.

But this was dismissed by a senior executive with the comment "This is Ireland. We all know each other".

Chickens come home to roost, says the letter, but it can take a long time.

The Irish Independent says that for the first time in years people in the Republic can climb out of bed this morning knowing that at last somebody is in charge.

Unfortunately, it says, that somebody consists of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The Belfast Telegraph says few people here will want to gloat about the misfortunes of neighbours across the border, but the sad and inescapable truth is that in times of plenty, the Irish financial institutions and many of the people lost the run of themselves.

Irish News columnist Tom Kelly says people in the Republic are still living beyond their means. He says he spent the last couple of weekends in Dublin and there's a fair degree of denial going on.

Plenty of comment in the London papers of course. The front page of the Independent wonders "who'll be next?".

Will the bail-out spark contagion, it asks, and it speculates that Spain and Portugal might be vulnerable.

The Guardian's economics editor hopes the rescue won't be botched. He says the UK's loan exposure to the Republic is bigger than that of any other country. RBS and Lloyds between them are exposed to £80bn so he says George Osborne's being a bit disingenuous when he says his willingness to put money into the bail-out is down to being a good neighbour.

The Mail's been doing the sums. It works out that Britain's contribution - £7.5bn - is the equivalent of nearly £300 for every family in the UK.

But there's much sympathy as well. The Sun says these are dark days for our friends. It believes Ireland's misery is down to joining the euro and how they must wish they could turn back the clock.

Other stories making the headlines now.

"Paramilitary link to street violence" is the main headline in the News Letter.

It says paramilitary thugs are being blamed for an upsurge in antisocial behaviour in North Antrim. It spilled into a violent street brawl at the weekend with four people being taken to hospital. The News Letter reports that Unionist politicians have reacted with outrage.

Another big story about the health service in the Irish News. Last week it reported on costly overseas training courses by managers in the NHS here. This morning it returns to the theme and publishes a letter from 12 top nurses who say they're demoralised by all this and want the Health Minister to redirect this training money into front line services.

Finally, a footnote to the bail-out. The Mirror reports on a firm in Cork. It says it's tackling the recession with a range of naughty t-shirts and underwear slagging off the IMF.

Some of the slogans might be a little risque, but you can buy a tee shirt with the message "The IMF took me coat".

A spokesman for the firm sums up the mood "What can you do only laugh?".

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