Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: 400 days without Stormont

The front page of Monday's Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror

A full 400 days since Stomont was brought down by the resignation of deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, there finally appears to be some light at the top of the hill.

Prime Minister Theresa May is jetting in to Belfast and her Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar will power up the M1 to try to seal a deadlock-breaking deal.

As they do that, the pages of Monday's newspapers look at what compromises the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin will be making.

In the Belfast Telegraph, Ed Curran asks a question that many people have asked over and over again and many more have long since stopped bothering themselves with.

"Is this the week?"

Image copyright EPA
Image caption As talk mounts of a Stormont deal, Ed Curran asks if the parties finally see "enough is enough"

He wonders whether the two big parties will "finally recognise enough is enough".

"Perhaps the fact that the parties have been contemplating their respective navels for so long has helped to bring them to the realisation that they were on a path of mutual self-destruction," he writes.

"No winners, only losers."

The News Letter's Alex Kane says that if the deal is one of "ambiguity, fudge, fog and can-kicking", it will only be "matter of months" until the next crisis comes along.

"The worst thing they can do now is push the pieces of the jigsaw together and hope that it somehow morphs into a coherent whole," he adds.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mary Lou McDonald "will need to bed-in fast" as Sinn Féin leader, says John Manley

The speculation of a deal comes hot on the heels of Mary Lou McDonald's succession of Gerry Adams as Sinn Féin president.

The new leader "will need to bed-in fast", according John Manley, the Irish News political editor, who observes that a snap election in the Republic of Ireland is possible "at any time".

If the Dubliner wants to achieve the goal expanding Sinn Féin's electoral appeal, he adds, she will have to oversee a change to the party that "will need to be more than merely superficial".

'Boy who melted your heart'

The death of five-year-old Kayden Fleck is the other big story appearing on the papers' front pages.

He died in hospital after falling into a river in Ballymena, County Antrim, on Saturday.

Image copyright The Fleck family
Image caption Kayden Fleck (right), had been on an "adventure" with his twin Jayden, says the Belfast Telegraph

The Daily Mirror reports that his parents say their "two musketeers" - Kayden and his brother Jayden - have been torn apart by tragedy.

Visiting the scene, the Belfast Telegraph says people in the town "found it almost impossible to grasp" how the banks of the River Braid had "hosted a scene of panic, of indescribable despair".

"Two little boys went on an adventure that morphed into the worst moment imaginable for parents Leanne and Darrel - a couple, who, just two Saturdays earlier, had got married."

'Blooming beauty'

It is the County Antrim village known as the Garden of Ulster, and now it has gone one better, getting UK-wide recognition.

Broughshane has won the title of the Village of the Year, coming out on top in a Channel 4 programme at the weekend.

Image caption Broughshane is "no stranger to awards", says Lexie Scott

The News Letter reports that it managed to pick up the title and the £10,000 prize even though the judges visited on "the wettest day of the year".

The village community association's chairman says that "sums up an awful lot what the folk of Broughshane are like".

Lexie Scott says that while Broughshane is "no stranger to awards for our floral displays... this was a completely different challenge".

Blooming marvellous!

'Van's Derrygonnelly girl'

Instantly recognisable from the opening bars, Brown Eyed Girl must be the most famous song ever to come out of Northern Ireland.

But mystery has always surrounded who Van Morrison was singing about in the lyrics.

Image caption Van Morrison wrote his biggest hit in a Derrygonnelly pub, claims one author

As the Belfast Telegraph's Ivan Lyttle reports, it has often been thought that Van's girl was from east Belfast, because the "hollow" he sings of is near the area's Beersbridge Road.

Now there is a twist, with one author claiming that the brown-eyed girl is actually from Derrygonnelly in County Fermanagh.

Doreen McBride says Morrison dated a girl from the village and even wrote the song on a piano in the Old Pals Bar on Main Street

Anyone feel a tune coming on? All together now - sha-la-la-la...!