Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Sapphires and budgies in Monday's papers

Monday's Daily Mirror Image copyright Mirror
News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

A miniature horse, sapphires and budgies are just some of the stories featured in Monday's papers.

'Veterans enraged at PSNI injustice' is the headline in the News Letter.

The paper reports that former soldiers have criticised a decision by police not to investigate IRA attacks on them during the Troubles.

Ex-soldier Mike Harmson claims the decision "only highlights the terrible injustice that we veterans have been subjected to by both the PSNI and local government".

The story also features in the Irish News, Belfast Telegraph and The Mirror.

'Ridiculous'

Former soldier James Leatherbarrow, who survived a terrorist attack in Ballygawley, told The Belfast Telegraph that a police service which would arrest ex-military personnel but not pursue IRA terrorists was "not worthy of the uniform they wear".

The PSNI says it does not have the "necessary resources to review or investigate any non-fatal Troubles related crimes", a situation Mr Leatherbarrow described as "ridiculous".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption George Hamilton told the Northern Ireland Policing Board that the mechanisms to manage legacy matters are "inadequate"

Mike Harmson, who served two years in Northern Ireland as a private in the 1980s before joining the RUC and PSNI, is also quoted in the Irish News.

He tells the paper that "it would appear that we veterans who gave so much are being brushed under the carpet of history by those who attempt to rewrite the bloody legacy of the Troubles".

Staying on legacy issues and the Daily Mirror carries a warning from Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton has told the Northern Ireland Policing Board that the mechanisms to manage legacy matters are "inadequate".

Turning the front page of the Irish News and the Education Minister Peter Weir is facing criticism over unspent funds.

The paper reports that under his watch only £3m of a £50m pot of cash for shared and integrated education has been used and there are concerns the unspent cash will be lost back to the Treasury.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Queen will be celebrating her Sapphire Jubilee at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk

A Department of Education spokesperson told the Irish News that "negotiations were continuing with the NIO/HM Treasury" on flexibility with unused funding.

Turning to a lighter note and a photograph of a smiling monarch dominates the front page of the News Letter.

The Queen is pictured wearing a sapphire necklace and earrings, fitting considering she has become the first British monarch to reach their Sapphire Jubilee.

The paper reports the Queen will be celebrating her 65-year reign privately at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

Thanks

Her jubilee also features in several other papers.

The front page of the Daily Mirror carries a photograph of Michaella McCollum under the headline 'Thank Peru very much'.

The County Tyrone drugs mule, who spent more than two years in a Peruvian jail after being caught with £1.5m worth of cocaine in her luggage, has spoken out to thank her supporters.

In a Facebook post, she said: " Please know I truly appreciate each one who cared and had my back".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption According to official figures, 27 animals are kept by inmates at three UK prisons with Maghaberry topping the list, with 18 budgies

The paper also carries the story of little Mia Warren who received a special visit from a miniature horse called Summer.

The six-year-old, who lives with spinal muscular atrophy, was treated to a visit from the tiny therapy horse at her north Belfast home.

Summer's owner, Samantha Hayes, said: "Summer just loved Mia and was as always full of fun so there were plenty of giggles and laughter."

Staying on a lighter note and the Belfast Telegraph report that prisoners at Maghaberry Prison have more pets than any other high security jail in the UK.

According to official figures, 27 animals are kept by inmates at three UK prisons with Maghaberry topping the list, with 18 budgies.

The paper wryly observes that it is reminiscent of the 1962 film, Birdman of Alcatraz.