Newspaper review: Paramilitary dolls, political pacts

By Amy Stewart

Image source, News Letter

Trouble at t'mill for unionist parties? The Belfast Telegraph says all pacts are off as "talks hit deadlock".

The paper reports that a plan for the two main unionist parties to join forces is looking unlikely.

It seems things did not improve after UUP leader Robin Swann accused DUP leader Arlene Foster of "arrogance".

And, after a meeting, the paper says they are no further along on plans to maximise the number of unionist Westminster MPs in June's election.

Image caption,
Robin Swann said the article by Arlene Foster was a 'strange way to start any conversation'

The News Letter is similarly sceptical about the relationship between the parties declaring: "Unionist leaders at odds BEFORE talks start."

It reports that Mrs Foster had "angered the UUP," in an interview published on Monday, by claiming only the DUP could win South Belfast for unionism.

Under surveillance?

The Irish News reports that the bomb left outside a Belfast Primary School on Sunday is believed to have been "dumped by dissidents" who suspected they were under surveillance by the police.

The paper's sources claim that the device, which was defused at the gates of Holy Cross Boys in Ardoyne, was left after the perpetrators suspected the police had been "tipped off" about the bomb.

Meanwhile, the News Letter reports that a Scottish woman who makes controversial dolls has said she is "proud" of her creations.

Mariea Hughes, from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, said she makes the dolls - complete with black uniforms, berets and shades - "in honour of Cumann na mBan", an Irish republican women's group.

However, the dolls have been branded "crass in the extreme" by victims' campaigner Kenny Donaldson, who says they have a look of "menace".

Are Catholics in Northern Ireland calling for direct rule? That's what one Conservative MP is claiming.

Image source, House of Commons
Image caption,
Chairman of the NI Affairs Committee Laurence Robertson

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the chairman of the NI Affairs Committee, Laurence Robertson, told the Commons "Catholic friends" in Northern Ireland had told him direct rule would be the only way "we're going to get decisions".

'Authority on Troubles killings'

Would you pay £400 for a book? The Irish News reports that copies of a book which chronicles the main killings during the Troubles is in high demand.

Lost Lives is described as "the authority on Troubles killings" and was written by journalists, after interviews with many witnesses.

The paper says an online book seller is offering a new copy for £402. One of the authors, Brian Feeney, said the book was still very much in high demand.

Image source, HOME OF THE MOTHER
Image caption,
'Our Clare touched so many people's lives and left a beautiful legacy,' said Clare Crockett's sister, Shauna

"Our Clare touched so many people's lives and left a beautiful legacy" - that's how a Londonderry nun who was killed in earthquake in Ecuador last year has been described by her sister.

Sr Clare Crockett, 33, who was from Derry's Long Tower area, died when a school collapsed in Playa Prieta.

The Belfast Telegraph speaks to her sister Shauna who, in an emotional interview, describes her as "full of life".

She told the paper Sr Clare had been "singing and teaching the children guitar" when they first felt the tremors.

Shauna says the family misses her every day, but that it gives them "great comfort" to know people remember her and speak about her often.