Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Ex-Sinn Féin chief says plan needed before border poll

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The Belfast Telegraph leads with a story that is sure to catch the eye - "Don't rush into unity without a plan, says Adams".

The front page splash is based on comments attributed to former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

He is reported to have said a border poll on an united Ireland should not be held until plans on a future for such a state are in place.

Mr Adams is also reported to have said there would have to be a transition phrase after a referendum and protections for unionists.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gerry Adams has said that a border poll without a plan is "stupid"

Mr Adams was writing on his personal blog.

The main story in the Irish News is a group styling itself the "IRA" claiming it planted a bomb under a police officer's car at the weekend.

The group, often referred to as the New IRA, said its members killed the journalist Lyra McKee in Londonderry in April.

It said the device would have gone off if the car had not travelled only on level terrain.

The News Letter's front page splash deals with a backlog in MOT tests in Northern Ireland, which means that some motorists have been forced off the road.

The paper reports that the Driver and Vehicle Agency is to begin accepting appointments for Sunday tests to try and tackle the now two-month back-log.

The Daily Mirror reports that an SDLP councillor, Paul McCusker, has criticised drug dealers after being added to a WhatsApp group - for drug dealers.

Image caption SDLP councillor Paul McCusker is well-know for his activism on drug issues

"Somehow my number has been added into a group chat of around 30 people offering drugs such as pregabalin and diazepam," he told the paper.

"This shows how easy it is for those selling drugs to distribute to those quite often suffering from an addiction and they don't care about the devastation it causes."

The 'ludicrously self-important'

In the opinion pages, Alex Kane in the Irish News opines, that as the 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland approaches, that the centenary is not something "we could enjoy collectively".

Also in the Irish News Denis Bradley challenges the Alliance Party on its neutral stance on Northern Ireland's constitutional question.

He writes that the party does not have to designate as nationalist or unionist but must contribute to conversations that society must engage in in the coming years.

The Belfast Telegraphs' columnists take aim at protestors.

Eilis O'Hanlon writes about anti-Donald Trump protesters at Belfast City Hall, criticising them as hypocritical and "ludicrously self-important".

Finally in the News Letter, anthropologist Jon Lanman presents the findings of a report into atheists and agnostics.

He presents the view that non-religious believers have quite similar views to religious people and that the gap between the two groups may not be as big as sometimes thought.