Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Bike champ Rea and Irish act questions

Jonathan Rea gives high-fives to some of his young fans Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Jonathan Rea received a hero's welcome as he returned home after clinching the World Superbike title

There were high-fives all round for Jonathan Rea after he clinched his third successive World Superbike title, and he is the toast of Monday's papers.

The County Antrim man became the first rider to achieve the three-in-a-row feat with Saturday's race victory, much to the joy of those back home.

"Histrea in the making" is the Daily Mirror's headline marking his success.

And the News Letter says the 30-year-old's achievement takes him into the realm of greats in his sport.

Image copyright News Letter

Now, let's turn the pages of the Irish News, which delves into the much-talked-about proposals for an Irish language act.

It looks for answers to some of the key questions around the suggested legislation - what it might involve and how much it could cost.

Giving the language official status is top of the wishlist, while allowing it to be used in court proceedings also features, among other things.

When it comes to money, thoughts appear to differ between the two main Irish language advocacy groups.

Conradh na Gaeilge suggests that it would require a one-off cost of £9m followed by £2m a year thereafter, but Pobal says those estimates are "unrealistically low".

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Sinn Féin was "exploiting children" at an Irish language protest last week, Jim Allister claims

And there's more on the proposed Irish language act in the Belfast Telegraph, with political viewpoints from the Green Party and Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

The Greens held their party conference at the weekend, with leader Steven Agnew saying that while he backs legislation for the language, Sinn Féin is using it to bring "this country to its knees".

TUV leader Jim Allister also has a strike at Sinn Féin, claiming that the party was "exploiting schoolchildren for political purposes" in an Irish language protest at Stormont last week.

Schools should "consider their PR" as they are "supplying the fodder of a highly-politicised campaign", according to Mr Allister.

'Reinvigorate nationalist feeling'

The Irish News also leads with a report that a soldier has been arrested on suspicion of trying to meet a teenage girl after sexual grooming.

It says the soldier, who is 28, was indentified by a high-profile paedophile hunter and was arrested at an Army facility in Aldergrove in County Antrim.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed the arrest, saying it happened in July after "information received and inquiries made by police".

The News Letter takes a local look at the constitutional crisis in Catalonia after its "tumultuous" referendum on independence from Spain and the "tough clampdown" on protesters by police.

According to the paper's deputy editor Ben Lowry, the vote - deemed illegal by the Spanish constitutional court - "could have implications for Ulster".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Nationalist feeling will be sparked in NI if Catalonia secures independence, says Ben Lowry

He says that if Catalonia splits from Spain and Scotland follows suit from the UK, "it will reinvigorate nationalist feeling" in Northern Ireland, bringing a poll on Irish unity closer.

"All eyes will then be on how the centre ground - the young Alliance and Green voters, who were very anti-Brexit - divide," he adds.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a family in County Armagh has been left devastated after a second brother was killed in a road accident.

Motorcyclist Neil Stewart, who was 49, died and his wife was left with serious injuries on Saturday after a collision near Newry in County Down.

His brother Howard died in a crash in the same area a number of years ago.

Three deaths at the weekend bring the total number people to have died on Northern Ireland's road this year to 47, the paper reports.

And finally, it was a busy weekend of GAA, with the joy and heartache of the club championship finals and semi-finals covered extensively in the Irish News.

But the paper's front-page image shows a "brawl" during Maghery's Armagh senior football win over Crossmaglen Rangers.

More than 20 supporters and players were involved in the skirmish just after the final whistle was blown, the paper says, and the Armagh County Board is likely to investigate the incident.