Northern Ireland

NI Paper Review: Paisley holiday claims, prince's visit

Daily Telegraph front page 08/09/17 Image copyright Daily Telegraph
Daily Mirror front page 08/09/14 Image copyright Daily Mirror
News Letter front page 08/09/17 Image copyright News Letter

DUP MP Ian Paisley is at the centre of claims jumping out from the the front page of the Daily Telegraph on Friday.

The newspaper says the North Antrim MP did not declare £100,000 in hospitality from the Sri Lankan government under the headline: "The MP, the £100k gifts and the Brexit trade deal".

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Paisley and his family took two all-expenses paid trips to Sri Lanka in 2013.

On Twitter, Mr Paisley denied the claims and said the newspaper's report is defamatory and devoid of fact or logic.

The DUP has said that Mr Paisley will "rightly refer himself" to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over the report.

Image caption Ian Paisley said claims in the Daily Telegraph were defamatory and devoid of fact or logic

Ian Paisley and the DUP also find themselves under a critical headline on the Daily Mirror's front page, where they have been "blasted for nurse wages cap hypocrisy".

Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson hit out at the party over being photographed supporting a campaign to scrap the 1% salary cap on nurses' pay when they had "voted with the Tories against lifting the pay cap".

The party defended its position saying it had "signed a deal with the Conservatives to support them on matters such as the Queen's speech".

Image caption DUP MP Gregory Campbell accused the BBC in Belfast of not being 'open and transparent' over how public money is spent

And another DUP MP makes the front page of the Belfast Telegraph over criticism of the BBC.

Gregory Campbell claimed in parliament that a BBC NI Spotlight investigation about delays to Troubles murder inquests was presented by an ex-PSNI officer.

In the report, continued inside on page five, Mr Campbell also accused the BBC in Belfast of not being "open and transparent" over how public money is spent.

Sticking points

The News Letter's front page looks at potentially major developments at Stormont under the headline: "'Definite shift' within DUP-SF talks on Irish".

The newspaper says Stormont sources have pointed out a change in attitudes over an Irish Language Act, one of the biggest sticking points in the ongoing talks to restore devolved government.

Inside the paper, however, the DUP insisted that its talks position was not "weakening" despite rumours that the party might accept a more moderate version of Sinn Féin's Irish Language Act proposal.

Meanwhile, it's back to Brexit on the Irish News' front page, which reports on unionists' anger over comments by the EU's chief negotiator that keeping the Irish border open post-Brexit was a "British problem".

DUP MEP Diane Dodds described Michel Barnier's comments as "unhelpful" while UUP MEP Jim Nicholson said they were potentially "destabilising".

However, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Mr Barnier's remarks "point the path to the only sensible, credible and workable position for the island of Ireland".

Monarchy mania

In the paper's editorial, the Irish News says that "Dublin is entirely right to protect its interest" by pushing the EU to avoid a hard border with the UK.

It added: "Unfortunately, despite all the evidence, the most ardent Brexiteers are still refusing to acknowledge the enormous damage that will be caused by the misguided decision to leave the EU."

Image copyright NIO
Image caption Prince Harry charmed children and adults alike on his first visit to Northern Ireland

Elsewhere, the papers reflect the monarchy mania that descended on Northern Ireland on Thursday as Prince Harry flew in for a one-day visit.

The Daily Mirror presents "Your Royal High Fiveness" (with a large image of Prince Harry high-fiving a baby, of course) as part of its two-page spread, while the Belfast Telegraph declared the "loved-up prince is in charming form" on his brief visit to Belfast, Ballymena and Hillsborough.

Emma Mason told the Belfast Telegraph she was delighted when the royal took the time to stop and talk to her and her seven-month-old son Henry, whose sartorial style caught the prince's eye.

"He said hello to me but he talked mainly to Henry, whose jacket he was admiring," she said.

"He asked me if I thought they made it in adult sizes too."