Newspaper review: Tempers flare in TV debate

By Amy Stewart

Image source, Newsletter
Image source, Daily Mirror

Tuesday's leaders' debate features on the front pages of the Belfast Telegraph and the News Letter.

The Telegraph's take is that it wasn't a great night for either the DUP's Arlene Foster or Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill who "suffered a night to forget".

It reports that Mrs Foster was "verbally bombarded" and "unable to land any blows".

Michelle O'Neill "interrupted too much without scoring any points," it adds.

The News Letter's Sam McBride also focuses on Mrs Foster's attack and defence, with the headline: "Assailed from every side, Foster turns on BBC audience".

He reports that Mrs Foster "sarcastically" said there was a "very balanced audience" in the studio.

X Factor goes green

Away from election news, The Irish News carries a story that will be music to the ears of X Factor fans; the show's 2014 runner up Fleur East will be performing at this year's St Patrick's Day festival in Custom House Square.

Image caption,
Fleur East will perform at this year's St.Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast

The Belfast Telegraph, however, has a less jovial take on the day with "fears of Holyland residents as students lay plans for huge outdoor party" in south Belfast.

It says two Facebook page events have been set up "calling for thousands to come to the area on 17 March".

The aim is to beat the world record for the biggest "Rock the Boat" party, which currently stands at 1,701.

Residents are not happy about this world record attempt, to say the least.

Ray Farley from the Holyland Regeneration association tells the Belfast Telegraph he's hoping nature will take care of the revellers saying "all we can do is pray for rain".

'Heart of gold'

The Irish News leads with the tragic news of the death of a young GAA player from County Tyrone.

It reports that Triona McNabb from Dromore, who was in her 30s, died following an illness.

Her former club, Dromore Ladies' GFC, describes the young footballer as a "loving person with a heart of gold".

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Damage to the car


The News Letter and Belfast Telegraph both report on the court case of the millionaire who crashed his £150,000 Ferrari California T into two cars in Holywood, County Down, whilst twice over the legal drink-driving limit.

Christopher David Walsh attempted to use a so-called hip flask defence, in which his defence said he had consumed alcohol after the crash.

The judge, however, said this "failed spectacularly" and Mr Walsh was convicted of driving offences.

'Drunk teenagers'

The Daily Mirror's front page tells the story of "drunken pupils starting fire at a formal".

The paper reports that staff at the Crowne Plaza in south Belfast had to call a halt to a school formal after management reportedly witnessed "several instances of inappropriate behaviour".

The paper quotes one of the students from the unnamed school as saying she felt "treated like a child" and argued that the hotel would have been better "just removing the students who were causing trouble".

'Not all over for GoT'

The Belfast Telegraph, News Letter and Irish News all report some potentially good news for film buffs.

Image source, Sky Handout
Image caption,
Jon Snow and co are not long for Northern Ireland but sources say the film industry here could grow and grow

Despite that fact that - much to the distress of Game of Thrones fans - the eighth season of the hugely successful show will be its last, it's not all over for the Northern Ireland film industry.

NI Screen chief executive Richard Williams said the development of skills and infrastructure, as well as lower costs, should attract more large productions.

He said: "The idea that you could not sell the infrastructure and people and talent that produced that, I have absolutely no concern about our ability to sustain and build from the success of Game of Thrones."