Northern Ireland

NI Newspaper review: 'Fantastic deal' and rape trial changes

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Proposed changes for sexual assault trials and a direct message to the Northern Ireland public from the prime minister make the headlines on Tuesday.

Writing for the Belfast Telegraph, Theresa May says Northern Ireland would be "in a fantastic position for the future" if her Brexit deal goes ahead.

She says Northern Ireland will be "a gateway to both the EU market and the rest of the UK's market"

She says the backstop is an "acceptable insurance policy".

This is "expressly temporary with a mechanism by which it can be terminated" she says.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Theresa May says Northern Ireland could look forward to a bright future under her Brexit deal

However, also writing in the paper, University of Liverpool professor of politics Jon Tongue says Mrs May's "905 word eulogy to her deal might contain lots of cogent points, but it will do nothing to appease her erstwhile Westminster allies in the the DUP".

The recommendation that the public should be banned from trials involving rape and other serious sexual offences in Northern Ireland makes headlines in all the papers.

The recommendation is one of more than 200 in a preliminary report by a retired judge appointed to review the handling of such cases.

It is the front page story in both the News Letter and Irish News.

Alison Morris of the Irish News says the reform plans "cannot be allowed to get lost in our political vacuum".

She says Northern Ireland urgently needs "a quicker, better, fairer system of justice and we need it now".

The paper quotes retired judge Sir John Gillen, who wrote the report: "Turning such courts into a spectacle for voyeuristic entertainment value cannot be in the public interest."

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Image caption The papers report on the recommendations of Sir John Gillen on sexual assault trials

The News Letter says the retired judge has called for strong judicial powers to control access to websites during trials.

The paper also says the report wants to see better education around the issue, as many victims of sexual assaults in Northern Ireland "buy into rape myths" and blame themselves for the attacks.

It adds that, although most of the recommendations would not require legislation, a minority, including those surrounding social media, would.

'Gentle giant'

All the papers report on the tributes paid to Niall Lyttle, the Newtownabbey man who died after falling from a 'party bike' in Belfast last week.

The News Letter says that friends of Mr Lyttle described him as a "gentle giant".

"He was one of the kindest, hard working and most courageous young men we've had the opportunity of knowing", the hockey club Mr Lyttle was a member of said.

Actor Jamie Dornan also features in the three local dailies.

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Image caption Jamie Dornan says some fans can be 'a bit hands on'

The County Down man, star of The Fall and the Fifty Shades films, is returning to the small screen next week in BBC2's Death and Nightingales.

Dornan stars as Liam Ward in the drama, set in County Fermanagh in 1885.

In the Belfast Telegraph, Dornan says he was "bowled over" while living in England when he saw subtitles used for Irish people - speaking English - on news programmes.

He says none of the cast of his new drama were trying to adopt "full Fermanagh accents" because they wanted to avoid subtitles being used, describing the practice as "extremely racist".

Meanwhile, he admits in The Irish News that going out for a drink in Belfast can be quite difficult for him as some drunken fans can be "a bit hands on".

Hair-raising theft

Finally, The Irish News has an update on a hair-raising story from Monday.

Actor and drag queen Matthew Cavan's appeal for the return of his striking orange wig, stolen from a table outside a Belfast bar at the weekend, has been answered.

Posting on Facebook, Mr Cavan - whose stage name is Cherrie Ontop - said: "I will be getting back tonight. Thank you all for sharing."

So you can stop looking out for a thief desperately trying to look inconspicuous while wearing a huge, flaming orange wig.