Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Billy McKee's death on the front pages

Front page of Thursday's News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The death of Provisional IRA founder Billy McKee makes the front pages of both the News Letter and the Irish News.

The News Letter's story leads with an interview with Seamus McKendry, the son-in-law of Jean McConville.

The IRA kidnapped the mother-of-10 from her home in the Divis flats in west Belfast in 1972.

She was shot and buried, becoming one of the Troubles' Disappeared.

Mr McKendry tells the News Letter he wishes Mr McKee "could have found a wee bit of decency in his heart" before he died, reflecting on the lack of remorse shown by the republican leader.

The story goes on to detail a number of atrocities carried out during the Troubles, which he did not express remorse for.

The front cover of the Irish News notes that Mr McKee's funeral, which is due to take place in the west of the city on Saturday, will be "one of the biggest republican funerals held in the city for years".

Image caption Billy McKee was a founding member of the Provisional IRA

Tributes are included in the story from political parties Republican Sinn Féin and Saoradh, as well as comment from DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst, who says his "thoughts are with the victims of PIRA violence".

The inside of the paper carries a truncated biography of the daily Mass-goer, who is believed to have joined the IRA in the 1930s, and held leadership positions through until the 1970s.

The Belfast Telegraph's front page focuses on an incident at a house in County Armagh, in which a man aged in his 80s has died suddenly and a woman, also believed to be in her 80s, has been taken to hospital.

The paper also carries an extended interview with Nichola McKee Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee.

Ms McKee, 29, died after being shot while observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate in April.

"We just want to be able to rewind the tape. To reach in and pull her out. to change her decision to go to watch the riot with her friends," says her sister.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror examines the high levels of verbal abuse faced by teachers in Northern Ireland.

Of staff surveyed by teacher's union the NASUWT, 14% said they had been verbally abused by a student.