Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Ryanair anger and the MLA looking for love

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

"Ryanair cancels Christmas," claims the Daily Mirror, as the airline wrecked its passengers' festive holiday plans by scrapping thousands more flights.

The paper says 400,000 customers must make alternative arrangements for trips booked between November and March after another 18,000 flights were scrapped.

It claims boss Michael O'Leary sparked "fury" by calling the move "sensible".

The News Letter leads with the same story, reporting the cancellations will ground more than 1,000 Belfast flights.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary described the move as "sensible schedule changes"

The Belfast Telegraph dedicates its front page to the results of an investigation into a IRA break-in which "rocked the peace process".

More than 300 police officers and security staff had to move home in 2002 when the IRA burgled one of Northern Ireland's most heavily fortified police stations.

Highly sensitive security documents were stolen from Castlereagh station, but police were then accused of "turning a blind eye" to the raid to protect an informer.

However, a Police Ombudsman investigation has cleared the PSNI of accusations of a cover-up, finding no evidence of advanced knowledge of the raid.

'Bad daddy'

The jailing of a County Antrim man over an horrific attack on the mother of his child is extensively reported in all of Thursday's dailies.

Stephen McFarlane stabbed his ex-partner 30 times at her home in Carnmoney last year, leaving the 28-year-old victim with "life-changing" injuries.

The Irish News and others recount how the sustained attack was carried out in front of the couple's three-year-old daughter.

The child reportedly said: "Bad daddy," to police officers, who found her mother in a pool of blood when they were called to the house in January 2016.

Image caption The woman was found seriously injured when police were called to her house in January 2016

The Belfast Telegraph reports on tributes to our esteemed BBC colleague, Seamus Kelters, who died on Wednesday after a short illness.

The award-winning journalist joined the BBC in the 1990s after working for several years at the Irish News.

He also co-authored Lost Lives - a book which chronicled every single death during the Troubles.

Tributes to the 54-year-old have been led by BBC NI director Peter Johnston, who described him as the "epitome of BBC journalism".

On its front page, the Irish News says the former US special envoy Richard Haass has called for a second referendum on Brexit.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Richard Haass (right) chaired months of peace talks in Belfast in 2013

Mr Haass said the UK electorate needed a "second chance" to vote on the issue, now that the implications of leaving the EU were clearer.

'Signs of disharmony'

The US diplomat chaired months of all-party peace talks in Northern Ireland in 2013 on flags, parades and the legacy of the Troubles.

The paper quotes Mr Haass saying a demand for an Irish language act did not feature prominently in those talks.

"It was not a central element, not even secondary... since then its obviously bubbled up," he said.

There are further signs of disharmony in Limavady, where republican and unionist councillors have clashed over the name of a famous song.

New road signs have been ordered, welcoming people to the town which claims to be "Home of the Londonderry Air and Danny Boy".

The News Letter reports that Sinn Féin objected to the word "Londonderry" warning the sign could be target by vandals.

But the Ulster Unionist Party accused them of wanting to "airbrush Londonderry out of history".

Image caption Daniel McCrossan has not ruled out an invitation for the Take Me Out show

It might still be lights out for MLAs at Stormont, but the SDLP's 'Danny Boy' could be about to light up prime time TV.

West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan has told the Belfast Telegraph he is being wooed to take part in the ITV dating show, Take Me Out.

The show involves the scary prospect of standing in front of 30 women, who switch their podium light off if they are turned off by potential suitors.

Mr McCrossan says he was embarrassed at first, and has been getting "a bit of grief" from his friends.

However, the MLA tells the paper he is keeping his options open.

"It's not something I'd normally be up for - but I haven't said no to it."