Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The work of the photographers features heavily on the local front pages.

Their job was to find one image that would sum up the heartbreak at the funeral of Michaela McAreavey. So the Sun, Mirror and the Belfast Telegraph fill their front pages with the same picture of her husband John kissing her coffin as he helped carry it past the school where she taught.

The News Letter has a picture of John with his hands to his face. The headline above it says: Stolen Dreams.

In the Irish News, he is seen with his arm around the shoulder of Michaela's father, Mickey Harte.

Several papers report from Mauritius, where people attended a special Mass timed to coincide with the funeral.

The Mirror comments that there are no lessons from this desperate tragedy, but the one ray of light has been the "extraordinary outpouring of love and support" for Michaela's family. The News Letter hopes they can reflect on that support and gain some strength from it. That is a sentiment echoed in the Irish News.

The Telegraph devotes a page to some of the messages posted in its online book of condolence. They come from as far away as the US and Australia, and, of course, Mauritius.

Secret ballot

The papers in Dublin are focused firmly on politics.

The Irish Times says the numbers seem to favour Brian Cowen in Tuesday's vote of confidence in his leadership, after almost half of Fianna Fail's TDs pledged to support him. But the Irish Independent reports that one of the rebels, and a potential future leader, Micheal Martin, has embarked on what it calls "a PR blitz" to convince wavering TDs to remove Mr Cowen.

The paper is not convinced by his methods. It sees Mr Martin's proposal to bring down Mr Cowen but allow him to remain as Taoiseach until the election as "bizarre".

Irish Times political correspondent Harry McGee says that while the numbers may look good for Mr Cowen, he should beware of the fact that this is a secret ballot and there is "a deep reservoir of unhappiness" with his performance.

Health service reform is a major talking point in London.

According to the Financial Times, the changes planned by the coalition are "so big they can be seen from space."

The Guardian says the overhaul is to be fast and furious at a time when there is "no cash to grease the cogs." The Daily Star says simply that our public services cost too much and fail to deliver too often. "It's time to crack on," it says.

The Daily Telegraph notes that spending on health has doubled over the last decade, while NHS productivity has fallen and patients with cancer and heart problems remain more likely to die in the UK than elsewhere in Europe.

The same subject occupies many of the cartoonists.

The Sun has David Cameron kicking a consultant in a pinstripe suit up the backside and telling him: "This may hurt a bit".

Matt in the Daily Telegraph has a surgeon talking to a patient's relative. "I can assure you", he says, "I'm doing everything I can to save my budget."

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