Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Headlines, hairlines and happy marriages

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

The attempted murder of a man in Craigavon features in all the papers.

The Irish News [£] reports the 31-year-old was shot in the head when a gunman sprayed a house with automatic gunfire.

Ch Insp Jon Burrows describes it as "carefully planned" and "orchestrated".

There is no apparent paramilitary link and Ch Insp Burrows says the PSNI need help as they have "no motive, no suspects".

'Deep alarm'

In its editorial, the Irish News says the "ruthlessness" of the attack is similar to that seen in gangland Dublin and adds "we can only hope that we are not seeing this type of gangsterism spreading to Northern Ireland".

The News Letter concentrates on the fall-out of Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt's announcement that he will give his second preference vote to the SDLP.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Belfast Telegraph speculates that Mike Nesbitt's voting strategy could cost him the UUP leadership

The paper claims the move has caused "deep alarm" in the party and names eight UUP candidates who have declared that they will give their transfer votes to pro-union candidates.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, veteran unionist commentator Alex Kane says the "car crash" strategy could cost Mr Nesbitt his job as leader.

A re-arranged military veterans' march, in protest at the prosecution of soldiers over Troubles cases, is covered in both the News Letter and Belfast Telegraph.

The parade, which was originally planned for Londonderry but cancelled due to security fears, will now be held in Coleraine next month.

Relatives of Bloody Sunday victims had described the original plan to march in Derry as "deliberately provocative".

Organiser Anto Wickham tells the News Letter: "With the help of the Royal British Legion in Coleraine we are now able to parade and carry on our fight for justice."


Differing opinions on how the authorities should deal with the legacy of the Troubles is also making waves on the election trail.

Sinn Féin's leader north of the Irish border, Michelle O'Neill, insists that the Secretary of State James Brokenshire cannot chair talks on the issue after next month's poll.

"His one-sided, partisan view means he cannot be an honest broker in negotiations," she tells the Belfast Telegraph.

The spectre of the bad old days also rears its ugly head with a death threat in the form of a bullet in the post sent to the SDLP's Nichola Mallon.

The Daily Mirror carries a report on the hospitalisation of two teenagers, aged 13 and 14, in a suspected drugs incident.

The Mirror says the pair are believed to have taken ecstasy when a large crowd of teenagers gathered in Carrickfergus Park in County Antrim at the weekend.

Hair raising

Elsewhere, Jimmy Nesbitt's hairline is making headlines again.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Jimmy Nesbitt says his hairline has had an impact on his career

The News Letter and Belfast Telegraph carry quotes from the actor who was interviewed by the Radio Times.

Nesbitt, who underwent hair transplants some years ago, admits it was partly due to "vanity".

However, he says his new locks have also rejuvenated his career, saying "in terms of the lead roles I've had since then it's probably helped".

And with it being Valentine's Day, the Belfast Telegraph has some relationship advice from a Belfast couple who know a thing or two about the secrets of a long and happy marriage.

Albert and Eileen Magill celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Sunday.

Mrs Magill says she wants a huge bunch of roses and some chocolates from her Valentine but is not holding out much hope after Sunday's celebrations.

"Albert had to dig deep to buy me my dinner that day so he will probably say he has no money left for Valentine's Day," she adds.

Mr Magill's answer to a happy marriage is to "keep telling the wife she's always right".