Northern Ireland

Newspaper headlines: Outsiders and bugging politicians

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

It's a mixed bag in Monday's papers as they pull together the weekend's news.

It is quite telling that only one paper has politics on its front page, despite the fact Northern Ireland's parties are due to embark on renewed talks in a bid to resolve the Stormont crisis.

The News Letter leads with the story that Gerry Adams claimed he would talk about his "long-alleged involvement in the IRA" if an independent truth commission was established.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Gerry Adams said he missed Martin McGuinness "in terms of the daily grind of the work" and also at a "personal level"

The Sinn Féin leader told Sky News he would address his role in the Troubles "if there was a satisfactory arrangement put in place".

Doug Beattie, from the Ulster Unionist Party, told the paper that his offer to speak "under amnesty" was a "tacit admission he was withholding information".

Jerry Springer

The Irish News also carries Mr Adams' comments from the interview, during which he also talked about how much he was missing Martin McGuinness, who died suddenly last month.

He said a hastily put-together new executive "wouldn't last" without his former Sinn Féin partner.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Could another Jerry help break the impasse at Stormont?

The paper's editorial calls on Secretary of State James Brokenshire to re-think his decision not to bring in mediators for the second round of talks.

"One of his many enormous problems is that he is expected to take charge of a vital process in which he is by some distance, in Stormont terms, the least experienced participant," it says.

Commentator Alex Kane questions whether bringing in an "outsider" to chair the talks would make a difference?

Writing in the News Letter, he suggests Jerry Springer or Judge Judy - "people who have a background in dealing with the dysfunctional and disagreeable" - but concludes they will only be effective if nationalists and unionists "want to share power with a common purpose and end in mind".

Anxious politicans?

Sticking with politics, Ian Paisley tells the Daily Mirror it is "utterly disgraceful" that the security services tapped the phone of his late father while he was an MP.

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott revealed the Rev Ian Paisley had his calls tapped despite a long-standing convention that MPs should not have their communications monitored.

The former Democratic Unionist Party leader's son, also an MP, pledged to raise the issue in Parliament when the Commons returns after Easter.

Image copyright Peter Byrne
Image caption A former NHS boss in Northern Ireland says the health service is facing its "most difficult time in 20 years"

While Stormont debates, the business of running a country continues as normal.

And the Belfast Telegraph's front page exclusive is a warning from a former NHS boss, who says the health service overspend is spiralling to £300m.

Writing in the paper, John Compton said waiting lists would continue to grow and GP queues lengthen unless the Stormont crisis is resolved.

The former chief executive of the Health and Social Care Board talks about an "unprecedented financial challenge" at a time when there is no executive to "lead or take decisions".

"We will all notice and bear the consequences if this is not resolved, yet not all of our politicians seem anxious," he says.

Community shock

One picture which features on all the front pages is that of Paul McCready - the father-of-two who died from injuries sustained during a night out in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter on Saturday.

It's the Daily Mirror's top story and the paper says the 31-year-old, from North Belfast, worked for the civil service in foods sciences, was engaged and had sons of primary school age.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Paul McCready died in hospital on Sunday morning

The Belfast Telegraph say police have launched a murder inquiry and a 30-year-old man who was arrested at the scene remains in custody.

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said Mr McCready was a "popular man" and his death had "shocked the north Belfast community".

The death of another young man - named by the Irish News as Christopher Martin - also receives a lot of coverage.

The 18-year-old was killed in a car crash near Crossgar in County Down while driving home on his own from Belfast in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The paper says Mr Martin, who was believed to be on a gap year before going to university, is the second teenager to die in a road crash in the area in three months.