Northern Ireland

NI Paper Review: DUP-Corbyn spat, Gary Lightbody's struggle

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

There's one face looking out of the front pages of the papers this morning - that of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Labour leader came to Belfast on Thursday and the papers all have a different take on his visit.

The Irish News focuses on his comments "reaffirming" his support for a United Ireland.

However Mr Corbyn said he has no idea what the result of a border poll would be and would not be "asking or advocating for one".

The Belfast Telegraph goes back to its lead yesterday - the spat between Mr Corbyn and Gregory Campbell.

It was reported that a request from the DUP MP for the Labour leader to meet IRA victims had been turned down because it came too late.

However Mr Campbell said he sent his email 10 days ago. The paper publishes screenshots of the correspondence on its inside pages.

Labour said it had only become aware of the request on Wednesday, that the oversight was unintentional and said it would investigate how it happened.

The News Letter reports that Mr Corbyn "put some distance" between himself and Sinn Féin.

It says he ruled out any joint authority plan in the event that he would become prime minister.

He said that in the absence of Stormont there was a "democratic deficit" and he wants to see the Northern Ireland parties come together.

"If they can't do that, the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference would be a good boost to it," he added.

Image caption Snow Patrol has made a comeback with a new release after a seven-year hiatus

He may be the singer in a successful band but life hasn't always been easy for Gary Lightbody, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The Snow Patrol front man opens up about his struggles with addiction to alcohol, depression and drugs,

"I'd been on a bender for three days," the 41-year-old tells the paper about a night 18 years ago.

He recounts how he fell down a flight of stairs and band member Jonny McDaid found him lying on the ground bleeding.

"I had too much ego at the beginning...but over time that gets drilled out of you," he says about the band's early success.

The Bangor born man tells the paper he quit the drink for good in 2016 and admits finding the first steps difficult.

However, now he's in a good place: "It's calmer, there's less darkness, more energy....all the things you get from quitting".

The Irish News reports that a controversial sign erected outside a Belfast Hospital is now in "the dustbin of history".

A row broke out after the words IRA in the colours of the Irish tricolour and a cut out of a gun were put outside the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Now the paper reports the sign has been removed by SDLP councillors, with Donal Lyons saying there was "no excuse for paramilitary trappings".

It's believed the sign had been up since Easter.

The paper shows a picture of the sign no longer on the lamppost but now in a bin.

The DUP's Brian Kingston said he was pleased the "menacing" image had been removed.

Image caption Catherine McDonald's Seedlip Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Also in the paper - a green-fingered man from Crossgar has won gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Aaron Jamison, 24, worked as part of the team which built Catherine McDonald's "Seedlip Garden".

The County Down man became part of the project through contacts he met in CAFRE (College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise) at Greenmount near Antrim.

He tells the paper he is "delighted" and the award has made all the hard work worth it.

Blooming marvellous.