Northern Ireland

Wednesday's headlines: Money talks at Stormont

Carson's statue at Stormont Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Funding has been the main focus of the newly-formed executive

Wednesday's newspaper headlines are dominated by financial discussion at Stormont.

The Irish News leads with "big spenders" with the paper saying "ministers throw new-found millions at problems but unease remains about who will foot the bill".

On Tuesday, Health Minister Robin Swann told the assembly that he can restore pay parity for health workers after finding an extra £30m, on top of £79m that was allocated by the department.

It understands that the £30m will be drawn from Stormont's future funding and not from Westminster.

Image copyright News letter

The Belfast Telegraph understands that nurses strike action now looks set to be called off although unions are now waiting on a formal offer on parity and staff numbers from Mr Swann before making a final decision.

It said the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) described the meeting with Mr Swann as "positive" and Unison felt it was "constructive".

The News Letter's headline is "Treasury offers £2bn, but wary of profligacy" reporting that it understands the UK Treasury is offering the new executive about £2bn.

It reports that sources told the paper that the government's offer would involve roughly £1bn of new money and £1bn of money that Northern Ireland would already have received from a share of increased public expenditure in England.

Barnier warning

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier

The Belfast Telegraph's main story on its front page is "There will be an Irish Sea Border" with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier insisting that there will be a border in the Irish Sea.

It says that despite Boris Johnson's rejection of this, Mr Barnier confirmed there would be "checks and controls" between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The paper said that during a sitting of the European parliament, Mr Barnier said "the implementation of this foresees checks and controls entering the island of Ireland".

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson rejected the comments as "typical of his continual attempts to undermine Brexit".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flybe flies to 14 UK destinations from George Best Belfast City Airport

Flybe saved

The News Letter features the news that airline Flybe has secured a rescue deal with the government that will allow it to keep operating.

Flybe services 14 UK destinations from George Best Belfast City Airport, more than any other airline.

It said a potential collapse could have affected 150 jobs in Northern Ireland.

Muckamore request

The Irish News said that a lawyer acting for the families of Muckamore Abbey Hospital patients has urged Health Minister Robin Swann to order a public inquiry into abuse allegations.

The paper added Mr Swann backed a public inquiry for Muckamore six months ago.

No guarantees for PSNI

The Belfast Telegraph feature an interview with Justice Minister Naomi Long with the headline: "I can't guarantee any extra funds for PSNI."

It said that Ms Long sees a number of issues including key policing policies as "on the radar".

Ms Long said that no commitments can be made while talks are ongoing over the financial package coming from the UK government.

"The police is about 70% of the Department of Justice's budget and we have to manage that very carefully" she added.

The paper said that the Stormont deal included recruiting an extra 600 police officers to reach the 7,500 the Patten report recommended.