Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: 'Brit' of a row and a lighthouse-keeper's tale

Michelle O'Neill and Arlene Foster Image copyright PA
Image caption "Thoughtless" and "despairing" are how the papers describe the spat between the two leaders

"Brit of a row" is how Wednesday's Daily Mirror describes the spat between Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill at the Conservative Party conference.

They "bickered" over Northern Ireland's status, the paper says, with Sinn Féin's Mrs O'Neill claiming at an event in Manchester that it "isn't British".

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader hit back, insisting it is.

Of course, it's hardly shock headline news that a republican and a unionist have differing views on the issue.

But what does their public spat reveal about the behind-the-scenes relationship between the two parties?

The Belfast Telegraph takes it as a signal that hopes of a deal to restore power-sharing at Stormont are fading, describing the mood emanating from the two leaders as "discouraging".

'Sense of despair'

In its Viewpoint section, the paper describes Mrs O'Neill's remark as "ill-chosen" and "either thoughtless by a person not regarded as a strategist or else deliberately provocative".

Over at the Irish News, the editorial on the matter is frank and grim.

"If this is an indication of the level of the debate within the talks then it is little wonder people feel a sense of despair," it says.

Image copyright News Letter

The Belfast Telegraph also touches on the news that Stormont departments could face £1bn in spending pressures, with budgets squeezed in the next financial year.

Economist John Simpson gives his view in the paper, saying that the departments are "preparing the public for bad news from the Treasury".

"Northern Ireland is facing a series of crises in financing parts of the public sector," he writes.

"We should have seen this coming... we have been temporised for too long."

'Town left reeling'

A young, pregnant woman's sudden death in County Antrim is covered across all of the front pages.

Sinead Stewart, who was 27, died after what the News Letter describes as a "tragic accident" at her home in Ballycastle.

She leaves behind a husband and a young daughter, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Sinn Féin councillor Cara McShane tells the News Letter that the town has been "left reeling", but reassured the woman's family that it will "rally round to support" them.

Image caption Henry Henvey manned the lighthouse at St John's Point for decades, says the Irish News

A "leading light of the community" are the warm words from the Irish News for County Down man Henry Henvey, "one of Ireland's last lighthouse-keepers".

The 87-year-old, who died on Saturday, manned the distinctive yellow-and-black lighthouse at St John's Point in Killough.

A striking image of his funeral cortege making its way from the 130ft landmark makes the front page.

The paper points out that Mr Henvey had struck up a friendship with Brendan Behan when the Dublin playwright was employed to paint the lighthouse in the 1950s.

A foghorn sounded to mark Mr Henvey's final journey, a gesture that the paper says was "well deserved".

'Swim to safety'

Staying by the scenic County Down coastline, the Belfast Telegraph has the story of the "incredible moment" when a man "single-handedly coaxed a beached whale out to sea".

John Lowry was the man who donned a wetsuit and swam out from Newcastle harbour to the minke whale.

He tells the paper that, along with his experience as a diver and former HM Coastguard officer, he "used all my strength" to steer it out to sea.

"It was very satisfying to see the whale swim to safety," Mr Lowry says.

Well done, that man!

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Gareth McAuley says Northern Ireland have "nothing to lose" when they take on Germany

Finally, to the back pages, where anticipation is building ahead of Northern Ireland's football World Cup qualifying clash against Germany.

The News Letter has an extensive preview of Thursday night's game at Windsor Park in Belfast, including an interview with Gareth McAuley.

The West Brom defender acknowledges that the world champions are on "ridiculous" form and a victory against them would be his "biggest result in international football".

But he adds that the Northern Ireland boys have "got that belief that we can actually hurt them".

He tells the paper: "Tight ground, crowd behind us - nothing to lose."