Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The question of emblems in the Prison Service is the dominant issue locally. "Ford Faces the Fury", says the main headline in the Belfast Telegraph, as it reports that the justice minister "has moved to defuse a furious Stormont row".

The paper quotes him as saying that no decisions have been taken in relation to symbols, and there are no proposals on his desk.

First Minister Peter Robinson, has, of course, threatened to resign if British symbols - including the crown - are altered. That provides the main line for the Daily Mirror.

It's echoed in the News Letter, which says the DUP has threatened to use its veto. The paper itself comments that this could be the issue that "finally causes unionist patience to snap".

But the Irish News reports that MLAs have "rounded on Mr Robinson" for contriving what it calls a "resignation stunt", because any plans to change Prison Service emblems would need cross-party support in any case.

The fall of Sean Quinn, who was once Ireland's richest man, features on a couple of front pages. The Belfast Telegraph has an aerial picture of his palatial house in County Cavan, alongside a story reflecting his application for bankruptcy at the High Court in Belfast.

The Irish Independent leads with the line that he claims to have just 11,000 euros in the bank.

"Senior moment"

Money matters also make the lead in the Irish Times. It reports on the first ministerial resignation from the current government over plans for budget cuts. The paper says the departure of Willie Penrose increases tensions within the cabinet.

A speech by a German politician causes uproar on some of the news pages in London. Volker Kauder is the parliamentary leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, and would not normally attract headlines in the UK.

But Mr Kauder, who is an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has effectively told Britain to fall into line and follow Berlin's lead in the eurozone crisis. The Daily Mail is outraged at his claim that "Europe speaks German now" and his assertion that the UK must contribute to saving the euro.

The Times says he accused David Cameron of being self-centred, while the Daily Telegraph reports that the German government believes Britain should participate in a Europe-wide tax on financial transactions - an idea described by George Osborne as "a bullet aimed at the heart" of London's financial industry.

And finally, comforting news for anyone who has walked into a room and forgotten why. Scientists have discovered that the very act of walking through a doorway can cause a "senior moment" because the brain tends to store away old memories and start afresh.

The Daily Mail says volunteers taking part in an experiment devised by psychologists in the US were given objects in boxes. Those who were asked to walk through a doorway were more likely to forget what was in the box.

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