Northern Ireland

Newspaper headlines: Foster's final still the big talking point

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The papers are in a serious mood, full of politics and court stories with little to lift the spirits.

The News Letter has an exclusive interview with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, which focuses heavily on the IRA and republicans' relationship, or lack or it, with the Orange Order.

Ms McDonald said she would like to meet the organisation, the paper reports.

The Sinn Féin leader also "appeared to say sorry for the IRA's murder of around 300 Orangemen during the Troubles - an essential prerequisite for any such meeting", according to the paper.

However, the paper's editorial says Mrs McDonald's "new tone... will be met with scepticism".

Image copyright Graham Curry
Image caption The Orange Order says republicans must end the "glorification" of the IRA

Staying orange, the Irish News leads with a story on parades.

It centres on the Parades Commission allowing a march through Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens, off the Ballysillan Road in north Belfast. The application came from a "re-established lodge".

The march is understood to be the first of its kind in the area and some residents are concerned the parade is being organised in order to cause division.

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Media captionArlene Foster attends a GAA match in County Monaghan

But let there be no mistake where the news focus is - it is on Arlene Foster and the aftermath of her decision to attend the Ulster Gaelic Football final on Sunday.

The News Letter gives two pages of coverage to the story and reaction to it, including "sorrow" that the match was held on a Sunday.

DUP councillor John Finlay has written to his party leader to outline "the extent of the hurt [Mrs Foster] has caused across the party membership".

'Traitor'

There are also comments from DUP MLA Jim Wells saying the visit had created "a lot of concern" among grassroots members.

He says he will never attend a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) event in his constituency, nor will he attend sporting events on a Sunday.

The paper's letters page is focused entirely on readers' various views on Mrs Foster's visit to Clones.

One reader denounces Mrs Foster as a "traitor" and says the "terrible decision" has brought the prospect of a united Ireland closer.

Image caption Pundit Joe Brolly has hailed Arlene Foster's attendance at a GAA match

The Belfast Telegraph has a two-page spread on events in politics, or the lack of them, including coverage of Fermanagh's now most famous fan.

Barrister and football pundit Joe Brolly says Mrs Foster's attendance "demythologises" the GAA for unionists.

In a similar vein, a Conservative Northern Ireland peer has hailed the former first minister's decision to attend an LGBT event as "extraordinary".

Outlining the unionist disconnect with the GAA in general, Ms Walker concludes: "Ulster - six counties, or nine - thanks to the leader of the DUP, is a slightly nicer place this morning."

Mary Lou McDonald crops up again in the Daily Mirror. This time it is in relation to the GAA match, and the Sinn Féin leader said the visit could help create the conditions for a deal to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

"Is it game on after Arlene's GAA visit?" the paper asks.

Meanwhile, the Irish News reports on a court case where a judge in Coleraine "threatened to send a mentally ill man to jail for begging, under an 1847 vagrancy law".

A 63-year-old man from the town was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence after being convicted of begging, an offence for which he already had "multiple convictions".