Northern Ireland

NI paper review: New Ian Paisley holiday questions

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror

One man and his holidays dominate the front pages of Northern Ireland's papers on Wednesday.

The News Letter, The Irish News and Belfast Telegraph all report on trips to the Maldives made by North Antrim MP Ian Paisley.

It follows BBC NI's Spotlight's report that a Maldivian government minister allegedly paid for a luxury holiday taken by Mr Paisley and his family

"Questions over more Paisley foreign trips" is the News Letter headline.

The DUP politician said at the time that he paid for part of the Maldives trip and that a "long-term friend" who was unconnected to his work paid for the other part.

Spotlight has since obtained evidence that Mohamed Shainee, who was a Maldives cabinet minister at the time of the holiday, was the so-called mystery friend.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Ian Paisley's trips to the Maldives are under the Spotlight

The Irish News features a picture of Mr Paisley holding up two passports with a pristine Maldivian beach in the background.

Inside, the paper has a timeline of what it says are instances of Mr Paisley "making headline for the wrong reasons".

The Belfast Telegraph also says Mr Paisley is facing new questions over the holidays.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Paisley has so far made no response to Spotlight's revelations

In other news, the Telegraph has a picture of a County Down woman convicted of assaulting a mother and daughter at a Take That concert in Dublin.

The paper says Tracey Robinson, 33, from Donaghadee, was spared jail and ordered to pay €900 (£806).

The story is the lead story in the Daily Mirror, which wins headline of the day with "Take that... and that".

It says Robinson hit the older woman with a half-full plastic bottle then pulled her daughter's hair.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Take That performed in Dublin

Dublin District Court was told she was "intoxicated and irate" at the time.

She pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and two public order offences and was found suitable for a restorative justice programme.

Another pithy headline in the same paper concerns a protest outside BBC headquarters in Belfast against the decision to end free TV licences for most over-75s.

"Old rage pensioners" is the Mirror's headline, as it says demonstrators branded the move scandalous and blamed it on the Conservative government.

The story is also featured in the News Letter, which shows protesters holding banners saying "don't switch us off".

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Pensioners protest outside the BBC in Belfast

Eric Harvey, a 90-year-old from Finaghy in Belfast, tells the paper: "This is an abuse and I am ashamed at the government for agreeing to do this."

The Irish News says there have been two nights of disturbances at the Short Strand interface in east Belfast.

One Short Strand resident tells the paper he doesn't sleep upstairs at this time of year: "I sleep downstairs so I can get out quick in case petrol bombs are thrown."

The resident said missiles were thrown into the back of his home, adding "it's kids doing it, they were about 14".

Finally the Belfast Telegraph and Daily Mirror both report on a £17m makeover for Portrush ahead of The Open golf championship next month.

Image copyright Northern Ireland DfC
Image caption Portrush is looking good ahead of The Open

Richard Baker, of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said the regeneration package "meant everything" to the people of Portrush.

The town's mayor, Sean Bateson, says: "The town is looking fantastic. The people are buzzing and so positive about it all."

The Mirror grabs the opportunity for a couple more puns, saying the north coast revamp is "tee-rific" and the town is looking "par-ful".