Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

This is the time of year when our councils start thinking about what they're going to charge us in rates. But according to the Irish News there's something of a black hole looming.

It says the economic downturn and the closure of various businesses may mean household rates rising to fill a void in council funding.

Apparently Belfast City council alone is facing a £3.5m hole in its budget after the Land and Property Services agency overestimated what the bills would yield.

The paper says there'll either be a hike in rates or else capital projects will have to be scrapped.

Meanwhile the Irish News also reports that all our 26 councils have had to pay £34m in rates refunds to businesses and other bodies which have been overcharged. The biggest pay-out was £2.3m which Antrim Council has agreed to repay to the Ministry of Defence over five years.

An appeal by Lisa Kinnaird, the mother of 14-year-old Ryan Quinn who died on the railway line at Portrush two years ago. That's the top story in the News Letter.

The main headlines in the Belfast Telegraph is Suicide tragedy of girl (11) and boy (13).

The Sun headline - Ulster parents' horror.

The two children lived in neighbouring communities in west Belfast and the Telegraph says people there are stunned. In the Sun there's a quote from a local priest who has talked about the 'cruel, wicked scourge of suicide' which is affecting the area.

Looking at the Dublin papers and the election campaign is getting off the ground although not without a bit of a struggle.

The Irish Independent writes of chaos sweeping Fianna Fail. It says there have been setbacks in a number of key constituencies with some well-known party figures pulling out.

The Irish Times writes of sharp differences between Fine Gael and Labour. It shows the Fine Gael candidates all lined up for a picture. Columnist Miriam Lord describes them as the 102 Dail-matians.

And there's coverage of what Brian Cowen was up to at the weekend. He was on his home turf in County Offaly where he unveiled a bronze statue of the famous greyhound Mick the Miller.

The Independent says he had people in stitches with various shaggy dog stories and it says it's a pity the electorate rarely saw this side of him. It says instead they usually got a crabby man who scowled at the Opposition, snapped at awkward questions and talked in riddles about making corrections going forward.

The events in Egypt dominate the London papers and there is much speculation about what will happen next...

The Guardian says the people have come too far to retreat.

The Mirror says there's no going back. And the Times has a cartoon showing President Mubarak as a Pharaoh on top of a pyramid while below him the people are taking the structure apart, a stone at a time.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the much praised film the King's Speech is full of mistakes.

Some examples - it's the late 1930s and women are shown wearing seamless stockings which weren't available at the time. There's a plastic model biplane which should have been wooden.

And one scene shows a BBC control room with the names of the broadcast stations written in the typeface Helvetica which wasn't designed until the late 1950s.

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