Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Foster's future and McGuinness's health

Arlene Foster
Image caption Arlene Foster features on the front page of the News Letter

DUP leader Arlene Foster is a prominent figure on the front pages as the post-election analysis continues.

'Foster faces revolt' is the headline in the Belfast Telegraph as it states up to 10 of her MLAs have privately expressed disquiet about her.

Suzanne Breen says senior DUP sources have told the newspaper that Mrs Foster should reconsider her decision and not put her personal pride before what is best for the "party and the people of Northern Ireland".

Elsewhere, columnist and former editor Ed Curran believes the question is whether the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA as first minister can command sufficient respect after a "bruising and brutal month of electioneering".

He says unionists of all shades need to engage in a soul-searching inquest.

That point is emphasised by a story underneath on the Ulster Unionist leadership battle which indicates that Robin Swann and Steve Aiken are the likely front-runners after Mike Nesbitt announced he is stepping down.

The News Letter's Sam McBride says Mr Nesbitt's announcement leaves the UUP no closer to knowing what it stands for.

He says he was frequently struck by how freely the former television presenter "expressed opinions without apparently realising how controversial those might be within his party", but says he departed the main stage with dignity

The Irish News and News Letter also consider the future of Mrs Foster.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The health of Martin McGuinness makes the front page of The Irish News

The Irish News says public expressions of support for Mrs Foster over the weekend were "conspicuous by their absence", although it acknowledges that Simon Hamilton was batting for her on the BBC's Politics Show. Columnist Alex Kane says the DUP leader's campaign comments about feeding a crocodile were a "crass blunder" that enraged a Sinn Féin voting base which "hasn't come out for years".

The News Letter acknowledges that Mrs Foster's future has been debated by senior party figures, but that there has not been an open challenge to her and there are no plans to hold the customary Monday meeting of the DUP Assembly group.

'Rich list'

The Irish News reports that there are serious concerns for the health of former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and that he has spent the last two weeks in hospital.

It says it is believed Mr McGuinness is suffering from a genetic condition and that he was admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital "due to the severe side-effects of his ongoing treatment". Sinn Féin has declined to comment saying the 66-year-old's health is a private matter.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports that the UK and Irish governments have warned time is running out for parties in Northern Ireland to restore devolution.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has said there is a "limited window" in which the executive and assembly can return, while Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said both of them agreed it was of the "utmost importance" that the Northern Ireland political institutions "promptly resume their work".

Money might be tight at Stormont, but the Mirror highlights the raft of Northern Ireland celebrities making the Sunday Times rich list for 2017.

Ballymena's Liam Neeson is probably the best person to ask if you are short of a fiver, he is reportedly worth a cool £96m. Other big earners include Rory McIlroy (£82m), Sir Van Morrison (£53m) and Sir Tony McCoy (£40m).

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