NI newspaper review: DUP 'tensions' and 'brawl' on train

Published
image source, News Letter

The parade may be over, the make-up scrubbed off, the glitter binned and the rainbow flags folded, but Belfast Pride features on the front pages of Monday's Belfast Telegraph and News Letter.

The Telegraph leads with the DUP's Jim Wells who is "standing firm" about severing all his ties with the National Trust over its support for gay rights.

The DUP MLA who worked for the trust at one stage says he will no longer be leaving it money in his will after it appeared at the parade and following its stance on gay rights.

The News Letter adds to the story. It quotes Mr Wells' "surprise" at a message tweeted by a more junior DUP party colleague.

As the Pride parade swept into action on Saturday, Emma Little-Pengelly took to Twitter to message: "Best wishes to all my friends and constituents celebrating today - all should be able to live a proud life free from hate, abuse or persecution".

image source, Pacemaker
image caption, Taking a selfie at Belfast Pride on Saturday

Mr Wells tells the News Letter he was "surprised" by her tweet.

The trust would be better "to keep out of controversial social issues which have little to do with its main objectives," he says.

In its opinion column, the News Letter says differences between DUP members on Pride reflect tensions within the party itself.

The paper says Little-Pengelly is a young MP in a city "where young people would overwhelmingly be relaxed about or supportive of such a parade" says the paper.

The leader writer describes Jim Wells' "surprise" as a "foretaste of a coming clash within the party".

Meanwhile, in the Belfast Telegraph, Lyra McKee welcomes the tweet from Ms Little-Pengelly calling it "brave".

"She is in a party ruled by evangelical right; they will be sharpening their knives for her as I write," says Lyra.

"Yet she hit the send button anyway when it would have been safer for her to say nothing."

image caption, Jim Wells says he is cutting the National Trust from his will

The Irish News leads with "a brawl" between Armagh and Tyrone GAA fans on the Dublin to Belfast train on Saturday following the All-Ireland quarter final.

A father who did not want to be named said he had to take his 13-year-old son to the game. Afterwards they witnessed the "brawl" on the train and got off at Drogheda because he was so fearful for their safety.

The man said they watched a Tyrone supporter punch a young female Armagh fan in the face.

It was "an almighty fight" fuelled by drink, he said, small children were "squealing and an elderly lady was so frightened that she pushed the emergency stop button.

"My son said to me: 'Daddy I don't want to go back to anything again'," the man told the Irish News.

The Mirror reports of passengers' "horror" at the train fight.

Video footage shows fans "clambering over seats to hit each other" says the paper.

It quotes one witness who said: "People had cuts and bruises from fighting - an innocent person could have been badly hurt here."

The Irish News also reports that private contractors have been brought in to "deep clean" dirty 999 ambulances after a report highlighted falling standards of cleanliness.

The paper says one paramedic said the insides of some of the emergency vehicles were not cleaned for up to a month because there was no time.

It describes blood-splattered interiors and body fluids on stretchers, all because crews could not get two hours in a week to clean them, according to a source.

Ambulance chiefs have blamed huge demands on the service.

image caption, Naomi Long says she has been suffering from chronic pain and is taking time out to have surgery

The Irish News also reports on the the murder of a 45-year-old man whose body was found at a flat in Lurgan. The paper reports that the suspect is believed to be the dead man's twin brother.

Meanwhile, the papers also report that Alliance leader Naomi Long is taking time out from politics to address a long-term illness.

It is understood she is going into hospital for surgery to treat aggressive endometriosis.

"Alliance leader Long praised for her courage," reads the Belfast Telegraph headline. The Irish News reports that Ms Long said she had suffered from "chronic pain" resulting in several emergency hospital admissions.

Finally, Mirror columnist Joe Lindsay reflects on how life has changed in Northern Ireland since he was a boy.

In a letter to his 15-year-old self, he advises him to keep listening to the music and never, ever to throw out the vinyl... you never know when it might come back into vogue.

And, shortly after this year's Belfast Pride parade, Lindsay has a bit of sage advice about the world as it was and the world as it now is.

"You go to an all boys school and they're all straight," he tells his younger self. "Heads up... They're not."