Paper Review: Irish border deal or no deal?

Image source, News Letter

There are fresh expectations for a new Brexit border offer in the The Irish News and Belfast Telegraph.

"Hopes for deal rise as border plan gets rewrite," says the Belfast Telegraph.

Leo Varadkar has said the UK government plans to suggest new wording for a Brexit deal on the Irish border on Thursday.

The Irish News says Mrs May is preparing for a new offer, after the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) warned she may have to wait until the New Year for trade talks.

The News Letter looks on the affair with a more cynical eye, with Nigel Dodds warning the taoiseach that is "playing a dangerous game".

The North Belfast MP says Mr Vardakar risks "harming the Republic's own economy" by threatening to delay Brexit until 2018.

Image source, BBC/RTÉ
Image caption, Nigel Dodds is critical of any move on Leo Varadkar's part that would delay the Brexit process

'Utterly ruthless'

The Irish News brings a warning from a different source.

Lady Sylvia Hermon says that if no Brexit deal is struck, "utterly ruthless" dissident republicans would target border officials.

The North Down MP said the government had a "moral responsibility" to take care of all officials.

She has gained support from Conservative MPs for her proposed new clause to the EU (withdraw) bill, which seeks to preserve the principles of the Good Friday Agreement in legislation.

'Best of people'

The Belfast Telegraph speaks to relatives of a family who died in an awful tragedy in County Wexford.

Four members of a US family were killed in a road crash in the Republic of Ireland on Monday.

Tyrone-born Douglas Alexander, his wife Lily,75, and sons Steven, 49 and Doug Jnr, 52, died when their car collided with an articulated lorry on the New Ross Road.

The family, from Chicago, were making their way from Shannon airport to the wake of Lily's sister, the paper reports.

Their nephew, Bill Cochrane from County Donegal, tells the paper they were the "best of people".

"Steven and Doug were brilliant cousins and we were very close. We are totally devastated and just can't accept it at the minute".

He tells the paper the couple have another daughter who was in Chicago at the time, and both two sons had partners and children.

"This is such a terrible terrible loss," he says.

Image source, Michael Cooper
Image caption, The Tree is a descendent of the 'Plane Tree of Kos' under whose shade Hippocrates, the father of medicine, reputedly taught in 500 BC

There's a little piece of Greece in South Belfast, the News Letter reports.

Standing tall in the concrete jungle of Queen's University School of Medicine and the City Hospital tower block, The Erskine House Tree is planted from the famous 'Plane Tree of Kos'.

And it's just won another accolade as the Woodland Trust's 'Tree of the Year'.

The paper says it was planted by famous renal researcher Dr Dimitrios Oreopoulos in recognition of the time he spent in Belfast during the 1960s.

There may be some good news if you're prone to the odd parking ticket.

The News Letter reports that Derry and Strabane council has agreed to write off £170,000 in parking fines across the city and district.

Image caption, Derry and Strabane council has agreed to write off £170,000 in parking fines across the city and district

The authority operates 15 car parks, having taken responsibility on for them under the Review of Public Administration.

However, as with all transfer processes nothing was smooth, and it resulted in outstanding charges transferring to the council.

The council was recommend to write it off, as the Department for Infrastructure now considers these fines will not be collected.

DUP Alderman David Ramsey says: "We are glad it is not costing us anything so I have no problem proposing it."

However, it does come at some sort of a price.

The council giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other - "As a result of this review the council agreed to reduce its expenditure on Christmas events in the future by 50%," a spokesperson said.