Newspaper review: Election fever, Costa Del Craigavon

By Amy Stewart

image source, News Letter
image source, Daily Mirror

There's really only one story in town this morning.

Northern Ireland went to the polls yesterday after a snap election called by Secretary of State James Brokenshire in January.

The front pages focus on party leaders at polling stations, but it's Arlene Foster who features most prominently.

The Irish News gives an air of courtroom drama, with a full page given to a picture of Mrs Foster headlined: "The Verdict."

The News Letter reports "firm evidence" of a "bigger turnout," while The Belfast Telegraph suggests turnout is "set to top 60%".

image source, LIAM MCBURNEY/PA

It features pictures of the leaders at polling stations above the bold headline: "Decision Day".

But in an unusual turn, the paper even features an "on the red carpet" Joan Rivers style round-up of the candidates' fashion choices.

Some highlights seem to be Mike Nesbitt's "near sky-blue suit," Arlene Foster's "great coat" and Michelle O'Neill's "wise choice" of red.

The Daily Mirror takes a lighter tone, punning with the question "Arl be back?"

The papers all feature colourful photos of voters - some dressed as crocodiles and even some actual clerics and policemen.

'Arrest over prison officer murder'

The Mirror, The News Letter and the Irish News front pages report on the arrest of Damien McLaughlin.

He had been charged in connection with the 2012 murder of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black but, after being granted bail in May 2014, had not been seen by police since last November.

Mr McLaughlin was arrested on Thursday under a European Arrest Warrant by Gardai as part of a joint intelligence-led operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

image source, Geograph

On the weather front, it seems Doris may have been at it again, as The Irish News reports on damage caused to a listed building in Belfast.

It reports that a construction firm has "blamed Storm Doris" after damage was caused to the former Bank of Ireland, near Royal Avenue during demolition of an adjacent building.

An investigation has been launched by Belfast City Council planners after the Ulster Architectural Heritage society (UAHS) lodged a complaint.

The Irish News says the firm responded with: "Due to the impact of Storm became necessary to demolish the vacant and redundant premises at North Street.

"During this process some minor damage was done to a previous repair". The firm says it is working with the council to ensure preservation of the building.

'Big hearted bikers'

The Irish News, Belfast Telegraph and News Letter feature the story of a headmaster who's a bit cooler than your average principal.

Colm Davis, headmaster of Tor Bank School in Belfast suffers from motor neurone disease. He's a Harley Davison fanatic and was treated to a visit from some hairy and not-so-hairy bikers.

The group of Harley Davidson bikers turned up at a teaching conference Mr Davis was attending.

'Truly heroic'

There is news of a touching tribute to a life-long Ballymena United fan who passed away after a battle with cancer in The News Letter.

Trevor Burns, who died on Wednesday was "first and foremost a Sky Blue fan", it reports.

On his last attendance at a match, Ballymena manager David Jeffrey brought the league cup over to Trevor. It has been described as a "superb gesture which touched the family".

David Jeffrey says he was "proud to dedicate the win to Trevor".

image source, Geograph

'Costa del Craigavon'

There are many beauty spots in Northern Ireland, but it seems Craigavon has come out as the most desirable place to live in the region.

In a survey commissioned by Royal Mail, the County Armagh town came out top, with The Irish News describing it as an "unexpected winner".