Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Brexit deal hope and Wrightbus fear

Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The meeting between Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson dominate headlines

Brexit talks news dominates Friday's front pages after Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar's meeting in Liverpool.

The Irish News, Belfast Telegraph and Daily Mirror all lead with the story, reporting Mr Varadkar's comment that he saw a "pathway" to an agreement on Brexit.

Speaking after Thursday's meeting, the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) said: "It is possible to have a treaty by the end of October."

The Irish News says the focus now shifts to the meeting between EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and UK Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.

A joint statement was issued by the two leaders after the two-hour long talks at Thornton Manor in Cheshire.

'Detailed and constructive'

It described the meeting as "detailed and constructive" going on to say the talks centred on the challenges of "customs and consent".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The British and Irish leaders met at Thornton Manor in Cheshire

The Belfast Telegraph notes that the venue for the political talks also played host to Coleen Rooney's 21st birthday party in 2007, nodding to her headline grabbing tweet earlier this week claiming someone using Rebekah Vardy's Instagram account leaked stories about her to a tabloid newspaper.

The Daily Mirror urges caution however, reporting comments from tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney that "we're not there yet".

"[The meeting], I think, is an injection of some much-needed optimism but the pragmatism of getting a deal across the line is what we will need to focus on in the weeks and days ahead", he said.

The News Letter returns to Wrightbus for its front page, saying workers are "staring into the abyss".

Image copyright News Letter

A prospective bid to buy the bus-building company "hit the rocks" on Thursday, the paper reports.

Jeff Wright, owner of the Wrightbus factory, said the sticking point in securing a deal had been farmland he does not consider part of the factory site.

'Other options'

DUP MP Ian Paisley suggests not all hope is lost as there are "other options" that could "bear fruit".

Inside, the paper covers Prince Edward presenting 80 young people with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards at Hillsborough Castle.

The Earl of Wessex was in Hillsborough as part of a two-day trip to Northern Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph run a special report on Northern Ireland being without a government for 1000 days.

It includes a claim from Dr Esmond Birnie that "Stormont has cost taxpayers almost £100m to run in the 1000 days since devolution has been suspended".

Dorothy Arbuckle, whose husband became the first RUC officer to be murdered during the Troubles, spoke to The Irish News 50 years after he was killed.

"I will never forget him", says Ms Arbuckle.

"I think about him every day, how things would have been so different if he had been here today."

The mother of one never remarried after her husband's death.