Northern Ireland

Newspaper headlines: ATM gangs and anti-cancer jab

Belfast News Letter front page Monday 8 April Image copyright News Letter
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Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
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Another day, another cash machine raid in Northern Ireland, as the latest theft makes the front pages of most of Monday's papers.

The now all-too familiar sight of a badly-damaged rural business, an ATM-shaped chunk torn out of the building, is splashed across them.

The target was O'Kane's filling station in Dungiven, County Londonderry.

Police are facing criticism for their "slow" response, but they argue they "can't be everywhere at once".

'Team of crooks'

The Belfast Telegraph reports that one officer in Craigavon has hit back at the PSNI's critics, saying they "don't have crystal balls" to predict which cash machine will be hit next.

"I could sit for hours at an ATM, but no sooner am I round the corner than a team of crooks arrive," the officer wrote in a Facebook post.

Image copyright PA
Image caption O'Kane's filling station just outside Dungiven was the latest target of cash machine raiders

Shop owner Martin O'Kane tells the paper he "probably won't get another cash machine in again" and says his local community will lose a much-needed facility.

Cash machine thefts are now the "biggest threat" to rural businesses in a generation, according to Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts.

He tells the Irish News that the gangs carrying out the raids are "out of control" and must be stopped.

The Daily Mirror leads with a "major health boost" for Northern Ireland - an announcement that for the first time, boys will be given access to a vaccine which can help prevent cancer.

Boys aged 12 and 13 are to be offered an injection to protect them against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)-related cancers, according to the Department of Health.

A similar vaccination programme has been available to girls for a number of years now, and has had considerable success.

"The prevalence of the main HPV cancer-causing types 16 and 18 has already been reduced by over 80%," according to the department's spokesperson.

DUP red line

Five days out from a possible no-deal Brexit, the News Letter is alone on leading on the issue.

It reports that the DUP will not support "any Brexit deal" which would involve the UK staying in a customs union with the EU.

The party's Strangford MP Jim Shannon tells the paper: "That is not the Brexit people voted for."

However, News Letter columnist Alex Kane argues that the "softest-of-soft Brexits would be no problem at all for the DUP".

He says the party will not benefit from the alternatives, including a hard Brexit, a hard border or no deal at all, pointing out that direct rule would "do them no favours".

Kane contends that the DUP's only real red line remains the backstop, which "no unionist party could vote for".

'Flung into the air'

There is cross-border controversy of a different kind in the Belfast Telegraph, which reports that an unmarked PSNI car carrying Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was damaged in an incident in Dublin last month.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Former PSNI officer Drew Harris took over as Garda Commissioner last September

The paper says the former PSNI deputy chief constable, who has led the Gardaí since September, was travelling in a "joint Garda and PSNI convoy" from Northern Ireland to Garda headquarters on 25 March.

It claims that an officer guarding a gate in Phoenix Park deployed security bollards after seeing the unmarked car with Northern Ireland registration approach the gates.

The sunken bollards sprang from the ground and damaged the PSNI car.

The Irish News also covers the story and claims the "bulletproof PSNI 4X4 was flung into the air" by the pop-up bollard.

Both the PSNI and Gardaí said normal security procedures were followed but did not provide much explanation.

The Telegraph says the episode "has raised questions as to why the commissioner was being driven from the border to Dublin by close protection officers from Northern Ireland".

'Two free drinks'

The Mirror reports on a joyful homecoming for Grand National hero Tiger Roll.

The superstar horse was given a hero's welcome in his home village of Summerhill, County Meath, on Sunday, after back-to-back wins in the "biggest race in the world".

The champion is part-owned by Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who toasted his win with punters on the airline's Dublin to Liverpool service at the weekend.

It wasn't quite a free bar, but all passengers were offered two free drinks in honour of the little horse who proved "too good to be true".

Image copyright John Grossick/The Jockey Club
Image caption The Tiger is on a roll after back-to-back Grand National victories

Finally, just time for a few eggs-cruciating puns as a Antrim fast food shop unveils an unusual take on egg and chips just in time for Easter.

It's no yolk according to the Mirror - battered Creme Egg and chips is on the menu at The Chippy.

Manager Joanne Graham tells the paper the idea was first hatched last year but this year demand for the delicacy has "just gone crazy".

"It's a bit of craic and a bit of excitement," she says, claiming that customers have been travelling from Lisburn and Ballymena to try the fried chocolate egg.