Northern Ireland

Newspaper headlines: NI Executive's collapse leads

News Letter Image copyright News Letter
Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror

Stormont's collapse and the countdown to the 2 March assembly election is, not surprisingly, the front page lead on Tuesday's Belfast Telegraph, The Irish News, News Letter and Daily Mirror.

"Power failure" says the Mirror, "Point of no return" is The Irish News headline while the News Letter says: "After a decade... Stormont implodes".

The Belfast Telegraph surely captures the mood of many of the electorate with the headline: "Here we go again".

Inside the paper, a woman who first raised the alarm about the flaws in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme says she takes no joy in seeing the assembly fall.

Columnist Eilis O'Hanlon says what Northern Ireland needs is "a dull, plodding government".

She says the executive formed in May, "like all the ones that preceded it, was sold as if it was a gleaming new car, straight out of the showroom, when really it was the same old banger with a bit of work done at the garage to keep it chugging along until the next MOT".

Irish News political correspondent John Manly says a period of direct rule now looms for Northern Ireland.

He says if no solution comes from talks expected to follow the election, Secretary of State James Brokenshire would be reluctant to ask voters to go back to the polls for a third time in 12 months.

The paper also says that the £5m cost of the March assembly election could pay for 200 new nurses or teachers.

'Brutal and tribal campaign'

The News Letter political editor Sam McBride says many politicians and journalists "bleakly assume that Stormont as we know it will struggle to return quickly" and that a "brutal and tribal" election campaign awaits.

However, he says two issues could push the parties into finding a way out of the deadlock:

  1. The state of Northern Ireland's health service
  2. The financial dependence many NI politicians have on the assembly

The Daily Mirror features Jonathan Bell's fresh assembly allegations about the RHI scheme.

Stakeknife lawsuits

While events at Stormont understandably dominate, all four of the papers also report on the fact that Freddie Scappaticci, the man named by the media as the Army agent Stakeknife, is now facing at least 20 lawsuits.

The news emerged in the High Court on Monday.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The papers reports that Freddie Scappaticci, the man alleged to be Army agent Stakeknife, faces at least 20 lawsuits

The Irish News also publishes the full list of groups receiving grants from the community halls grant scheme, which has been criticised by Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey as an attempt by the DUP to buy votes.

The News Letter reports that the police have declined to publish a mugshot of a suspect in the IRA 1992 Teebane massacre.

It says witnesses reported seeing the "bearded man" at the scene both before and after the bombing that killed eight workmen.

The Belfast Telegraph says planning permission has been sought to bring a 130-year-old, 10 tonne lighthouse optic to a new home in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

In another Titanic-related story, Homes Under the Hammer and I'm a Celebrity start Martin Roberts tells the paper his grandfather helped rescue survivors of the 1912 tragedy.