Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Tory leadership tussle and Irish sign stance

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
Image caption Front page of the Daily Mirror on Wednesday
News Letter Image copyright News Letter
Image caption Front page of the News Letter on Wednesday

The Conservative Party features prominently on some of the newspaper front pages on Wednesday, after its five leadership candidates clashed in a live debate over how to avoid a hard border in Ireland after Brexit.

The News Letter leads with a survey suggesting that 59% of Conservative Party members would be willing to see Northern Ireland split from the UK if it meant delivering Brexit.

The You Gov poll of almost 900 party members also found that 20% would be happy to see Northern Ireland leave the UK, regardless of the Brexit issue.

The DUP's said the survey was based on hypothetical questions and "no-one is taking this seriously".

The Belfast Telegraph leads with Boris Johnson's assertion that the Irish border row can be sorted out after Brexit.

Four of the five leadership candidates have rejected the backstop, which was part of the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May.

The backstop is a position of last resort to maintain a seamless border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart was the only candidate who spoke in favour of it.

Image caption Five candidates took part in the Conservative leadership debate

Elsewhere, the front page of the Irish News has the latest in an ongoing story in which Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has warned it may prosecute an 85-year-old woman from Randalstown over an Irish language street sign on her property.

The paper says the woman's granddaughter, Medb Ní Dhúláin, who erected the sign on railings at the house in the Ashdale estate, has insisted it will not be taken down.

She has said her stance is not political.

The council claims the sign was erected without planning consent and has ordered it be removed.

In a separate story, the newspaper reports that Belfast City Council is said to be preparing legal action in relation to a dog attack on an eight-year-old girl in north Belfast.

Annie McFadden needed 80 stitches to her head and body after being attacked by a pitbull-type dog last month.

A spokeswoman for the council said the case "remains a priority for our dog warden team who are continuing to investigate this incident".

Image copyright Kriégel family
Image caption Ana Kriégel was found dead in May 2018 in an abandoned house in Dublin

The Daily Mirror leads with the conviction of two boys for the murder of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel in the Republic of Ireland.

The teenager was found dead in May 2018 in an abandoned house in Dublin, where she had been taken by one of the boys.

After a six-week trial, both of the boys were found guilty of murder. Boy A was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

Separately, a number of the newspapers, including the News Letter and the Daily Mirror, report on the trial of a man accused of the murder of prison officer Adrian Ismay.

Mr Ismay died 11 days after he was injured when a bomb exploded under his van in Belfast in 2016.

Christopher Robinson, 48, of Aspen Park in Twinbrook, denies murder.

The court heard that three days after the bomb exploded, police interviewed Mr Ismay as he lay injured in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Both men had volunteered with St John Ambulance, and Mr Ismay told police that when he worked with Mr Robinson "we never had cross words, we never had any run-ins, we actually got on well".