Northern Ireland

Newspaper headlines: Impact of political crisis at Stormont

The front page of the Daily Mirror on Wednesday 11 January
News Letter front page, Wednesday 11 January

The impact of the political crisis at Stormont continues to feature prominently in some of the newspaper headlines on Wednesday.

A warning by DUP minister Paul Givan that about 34,000 homes in Northern Ireland could miss out on £91m set aside to mitigate the effects of the "bedroom tax" over four years makes the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Givan said he could not release the £24m pledged to help claimants this year, as legally he needed the agreement of the executive.

Inside the newspaper, former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern says he believes Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness never gelled in their joint ministerial role. He adds that from his own experience "personalities matter in a coalition government and if there is fundamental mistrust, a breach becomes harder and harder to avoid".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has told The Irish News that the British and Irish governments should jointly run Northern Ireland if power-sharing collapses.

He says if an executive cannot be created after an election "the only acceptable deal for the nationalist community is joint authority".

'Stress and worry'

The News Letter includes Mrs Foster's warning of a "brutal" election and the expectation by her DUP colleague Sir Jeffrey Donaldson that a prolonged period of direct rule from Westminster is likely.

"Pull Back From Abyss" is the strong headline across two pages in the Daily Mirror, above quotes from Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire describing the political situation as "grave".

The destruction of eight biomass boilers and 14 tonnes of woodchip in a fire at a County Fermanagh construction firm is the other story making the front page of The Irish News.

It is not clear whether the boilers at the premises outside Enniskillen had been operating with subsidies from the controversial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Image caption James Brokenshire is to hold talks with all the Northern Ireland political parties

The News Letter leads with the PSNI's public apology to the family of murdered prison officer David Black, after it emerged a man charged in connection with the killing has not been seen since November.

Senior detectives visited the family on Tuesday to say sorry for the "stress and worry" the episode had caused them and pledged a review to ensure bail checks were "robust".

The Daily Mirror's front page concentrates on the nine-year-old boy who was critically injured after he was knocked down in Liscolman, near Bushmills.

The boy was taken to the Causeway Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. A man in his 70s was arrested, but has since been released on police bail.