Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Bomb attack and free school meals

The front page of the Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror

A shooting and a bomb attack dominate the front of Tuesday's papers.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with the bomb attack in Wattlebridge, County Fermanagh, which saw police officers narrowly avoid injury.

Its coverage focuses on remarks from Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin, who said dissident republicans were behind the explosion, and had attempted to lure officers to their deaths.

He called on local politicians to act in the wake of the incident.

"We shouldn't take our peace for granted and need to work continuously to move forward and not allow ourselves to regress," said DCC Martin.

'Needs a story'

The paper's coverage of the incident also includes remarks from counter-terrorism expert Ken Pennington, who predicted more attacks between now and 31 October, the day the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.

Mr Pennington fronts The Last Castle, an anti-terrorism and human rights consultancy.

Image caption The PSNI's DCC Martin called for politicians to act following the explosion

"The difference between terrorism and crime gangs is that terrorism needs a story to justify itself," he said, citing the Brexit process as providing a narrative.

Coverage in the News Letter of the bomb attack focuses on comments from former deputy chief constable Alan McQuillan.

Mr McQuillan credited "very good policing" for avoiding a loss of life in the attack.

Coverage in the Irish News of the explosion focuses on the belief it was carried out by the Continuity IRA.

"The Continuity IRA have been present for a long time but I think it is fair to say that their level of activity has increased this year," said DCC Martin.

It noted the group had claimed responsibility for an incident in Craigavon last month.

Free summer meals

Reported inside the paper is a scheme aimed at tackling food poverty in Northern Ireland, with tens of thousands of free school meals to be provided over the summer.

Meals are provided to children whose family income is less than £16,190.

The scheme is backed by the Urban Villages Initiative and Business in the Community.

The pilot scheme is supported by more than £50,000 in funding, and will help groups in Belfast and Londonderry.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Children in Derry and Belfast are set to benefit from free summer meals

An Education Authority spokeswoman said similar programmes had "helped lessen the worries parents and carers have about feeding their children during this period".

'Totally shocked'

The front of the Daily Mirror covers the shooting of a man in Waringstown, County Down, a story which broke late on Monday.

Speaking to the paper, local DUP councillor Mark Baxter said he was "totally shocked to hear what has happened" and said his thoughts go out to anyone who had witnessed the incident.

Inside, the paper puts a local spin on its own story from earlier in the week, when it reported a think tank favoured by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was recommending the pension age rise to 75.

Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland Eddie Lynch said he was "appalled" by the proposal from the Centre for Social Justice.

"It's well documented that we are living longer, but to increase the pension age so drastically doesn't adequately address how to cope with the wider impact of this," he said.

"This requires much wider discussion and debate."