Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Incinerator fall-out and giant cake

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The fall-out over a High Court ruling on a controversial incinerator is a burning issue with a front-page slot in the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News.

"Every big Stormont decision could go to court" reads the Telegraph's headline, while the Irish News warns that the incinerator ruling "could leave Casement parked".

In the High Court on Monday, a judge ruled that a senior civil servant had no power to approve planning for the incinerator at Mallusk.

He said that despite the absence of a working assembly and minister the decision still should be made by a minister and not civil servants.

The Telegraph carries a warning that this decision "could open the floodgates" to legal challenges over key decisions taken by civil servants in the absence of Stormont.

The paper quotes TUV leader Jim Allister who says: "I suspect senior civil servants will now be very reticent and nervous about doing anything".

Inside, the paper's political editor says the whole system of government in Northern Ireland has been left "in chaos and confusion".

Image copyright GAA
Image caption What now for Casement Park?

"Judging by past experience, London will continue to let the situation drift - regardless of the price ordinary folk here pay," she writes.

The Irish News says the High Court ruling means the Casement Park GAA stadium project in west Belfast has been dealt "a further blow".

It had already been "beset by years of delays" says the paper.

The paper's editorial spells it out: "State of uncertainty" reads the headline.

"What was an already unacceptable situation has just got worse," notes the leader writer.

"Limping along without a fully functioning government is not in the best interests of the economy or the wider public."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The real-life royal couple have been recreated in sponge, butter cream and chocolate

In the run-up to Saturday's royal wedding, the Telegraph also features a front-page picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

But take a closer look - those life-size figures are huge iced cakes fashioned by baker Lara Mason who is originally from County Down.

The cake "sculptures" were made using 300 eggs, 15kg flour, 15kg butter and 15kg sugar, says Lara.

She also used 20kg of chocolate.

There is enough cake to feed 500 people and the talented baker got it all done on top of caring for her baby twins, Lily and Lyra.

"Family took over for a while but I couldn't turn down the opportunity to make a cake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle," said Lara.

'Loathed'

In the Irish News, political commentator Fionnuala O Connor notes the "remarkable level of moderate nationalist antipathy" towards DUP leader and former first minister Arlene Foster.

Mrs Foster's comparison of Irish speakers with crocodiles and her dismissal of not just Sinn Féin, but the SDLP as "rogues and renegades", has turned agnostic nationalists into republicans and more than a few culture lovers into resolute students of Irish, she notes.

"It is quite remarkable how loathed she is, no, despised by even middle-class, non-republican, indeed anti-republican Catholics," she writes.

Image caption Arlene Foster has 'turned agnostic nationalists into republicans'

The News Letter leads with reaction to the PSNI chief constable's comment that policing in the past was not always as it should have been.

George Hamilton and the police ombudsman have "come under fire for comments on the extent of collusion during the Troubles," writes reporter Mark Rainey.

On Monday, the chief constable told a conference in Belfast that the issue of police collusion with loyalist paramilitaries was "much bigger and more complex that the 'few bad apples' analogy that has been articulated previously".

The paper quotes a former RUC Special Branch handler, Dr William Matchett who says that the very word "collusion" is the "language of 'armed struggle'".

"It should be contested, not reflected. Today, it is common legacy language. The 'c' word conjures up images of bigoted cops plotting with loyalists to murder Catholics."

"Many retired police offers, their families, police widows and innocent victims of terrorism will be disappointed and confused," Dr Matchett tells the paper.

Image caption PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton was speaking at a conference in Queen's University on Monday

On its front page, the News Letter also features the Royal Wedding with a photograph of four Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lookalikes, all of whom took part in a competition to find Europe's best Royal Couple dopplegangers.

Inside, the paper reports on how firms are cashing in on the nuptials with a range of products including a chicken bucket, a transatlantic biscuit and swimsuits. The paper even features a picture of artist Nathan Wyburn who has painted a close-up of the couple... in gravy on a royal wedding pork pie.

'Demon headaches'

The Mirror reports that a controversial church has received planning permission to open a place of worship in Belfast.

The paper says that the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has been banned in several countries. But it will be establishing itself at Equality House in the city's Donegall Pass.

The Mirror's headline reads: "'Church' which blames demons for headaches to set up in Northern Ireland".

The paper charts a history of scandals, including the fact that it was banned in Zambia following allegations that it was involved in "satanic rituals".

The Mirror says the Advertising Authority "axed a church poster" which claimed that constant headaches, insomnia, fears, bad luck, strange diseases were "symptoms caused by demons".

The church has dismissed claims made against it, calling them "a defamatory campaign of lies".

'Royal sum'

Finally, the king may be dead but he is still the king. The Mirror reports that an Elvis Presley watch valued at £75,000 has sold at auction for £1.4m.

Presley was given the watch after reaching 75 million record sales on Christmas Day 1960.

Predictably, the paper reports that the sale left those at the auction "all shook up".