Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Arlene scores but Nellie is a 'no no'

Arlene Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The DUP leader features on the front pages of all the local papers

DUP leader Arlene Foster's appearance at the Ulster GAA Final gets her a picture and place on the front pages of all the local newspapers, but it did not gain her team a win.

The Irish News goes for a Fermanagh pun and the words: "Foster ernes place in GAA history" alongside a photograph of Mrs Foster entering the arena.

The Daily Mirror borrows heavily from Dexys Midnight Runners - so very 1980s - and runs with the headline "Come on Arlene!"

The News Letter chooses to focus on the reaction Mrs Foster got and the applause from GAA fans.

However, as the Irish News reports, even her appearance did not break Fermanagh's 130-year wait for the county's first ever Ulster Senior football title.

Image copyright Inpho
Image caption Che Cullen and James McFadden of Fermanagh challenge Donegal captain Michael Murphy - but a win wasn't to be

The Belfast Telegraph meditates on the meaning behind the gesture, calling it a "deeply symbolic day" and describing the applause as "rapturous".

The paper reports that Mrs Foster's attendance has been hailed as a "crucial step towards reconciliation".

"The DUP leader saw her native Fermanagh lose to Donegal - but community relations was the real winner", writes the Telegraph's Jane Scott.

A front-page picture shows a laughing Arlene Foster shaking hands with Irish minister Joe McHugh as Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Fein, looks on with a smile.

She tells the paper that some people may be uncomfortable with her attendance at the match on Sunday.

"I am a leader of a political party that wants to have a shared society in Northern Ireland and to do that you have to take steps," she points out.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The News Letter reports that Arlene Foster "came under fire" from TUV leader Jim Allister

The News Letter reports that Fermanagh may have lost but Arlene proved "a winner". However, TUV leader Jim Allister is not amused. The paper reports that she "came under fire" from Mr Allister for "placating Sinn Féin".

"Whatever the spin applied, the reality is that the DUP leader has chosen to spend her Sunday afternoon endorsing the only sporting organisation on this island with an overtly political and republican agenda," he says.

In its morning leader, the paper says that cross-community visits "ought to be a non-event".

Mrs Foster has been subject to more than a year of "sustained abuse", the leader writer says.

"It must have been nerve wracking for her to attend such an event, uncertain of how the crowd might respond. In the end, there was nothing to fear on that front."

However, such "ground-breaking" visits should not be "over-stated" notes the leader writer.

The Mirror reports that fans chanted "Go on you girl" and sang "come on Arlene".

'Absolute gentleman'

The sudden death of young County Down teacher Pearce Branagan features on the front page of the Irish News and the Telegraph.

He was just 23 years old and came from Hilltown. It's understood he suffered a heart attack on Saturday.

The Irish News carries tributes to Mr Branagan who is described as "an absolute gentleman" taken in the "prime of his life".

His photograph also features on the front of the Telegraph which reports that tributes have flooded in for the young trainee teacher and GAA hurler who played for Clonduff.

One woman whose daughter was a pupil said: "He was such a huge influence on her and she was inspired to try her very best by his gentle and encouraging manner."

The Telegraph also reports on a "Presbyterian row", saying that a former minister claims the Church has been "scoring own goals" by trying to silence debate on same-sex issues and its relationship with the Church of Scotland.

"If a team in the World Cup had scored as many own goals as the Presbyterian Church has in the last few weeks, there would doubtless have been a change of players and manager," Rick Hill tells the paper.

Image caption The government will never accept a border in the Irish Sea says Dominic Grieve

Brexit is the focus of the News Letter's front-page lead.

"Top Remainer rules out Irish Sea border," reads the headline.

The paper quotes Conservative MP Dominic Grieve who says a border down the Irish Sea would be "completely unacceptable".

"It's abundantly clear that the government will never accept it," he tells the News Letter.

Meanwhile, the Mirror features a big red 28C beside a picture of a child with an ice cream and the headline: "Things are hotting up in Ulster".

Image copyright Wee Buns
Image caption Zoo is based on one of Northern Ireland's most famous wartime stories

The heat wave is "hard to lick" and there were even a few stars out and about - actors Jamie Dornan and Michael Fassbender were spotted in Country Antrim writes Maurice Fitzmaurice.

Finally, the Irish News reports on an animal rights charity who believe people who care about animals should boycott Zoo - the film which features efforts to save an elephant from Belfast Zoo during the blitz in 1941.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is "disappointed" that the film producers chose to use a live elephant called Nellie from Canada.

PETA director Elisa Allen argues that modern film makers have access to cutting-edge technology and says animals should not be subjected to film sets that include bright lights, loud scary noises and the stress of training and travel.