Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

What the papers say


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's morning papers.

Education and academic selection are under scrutiny again, with four top Catholic schools to lose their grammar status, according to The Irish News, as it says the church "gets tough" on academic selection.

The paper also carries a report on Minister Caitriona Ruane's speech at the NASUWT teachers' conference on Thursday night. She urged teachers not to privately tutor for admissions tests.

The Belfast Telegraph takes up the tutoring theme and claims the minister is "trying to bully" teachers into becoming her own "educational storm troopers".

But it leads on what it dubs "a torrent of sackings" at Northern Ireland Water. The chairman and three non-executive board members were removed by DRD Minister Conor Murphy, following an independent review of the quango.

The News Letter leads on the Dungannon court case of a "homophobic hate crime", where two Lithuanian men were on Thursday jailed for life, after brutally murdering a gay man.

A detective speaking about the case says the men do not represent the law-abiding members of the Lithuanian community in Dungannon.


The Irish Times is leading with concerns over the way Tallaght hospital is being run.

One GP had estimated that up to 30,000 doctors' letters may have been unopened.

And it seems that it may not be the only hospital with a problem. One Monaghan GP says that she was told that referral letters to our Lady of Lourdes hospital are put in a box, as its waiting list is too long.

And a moving statue story at a hospital in Killarney. But nothing mystical, it seems. The Irish Independent reports on the statue of the Sacred Heart.

It was removed last week from above the entrance to the Killarney Community Hospital.

Now it's been re-erected, but to the side of the hospital. And many want it back at the front, but the Health Service Executive insists it was re-sited, not for religious reasons, but for Health and Safety.

MPs' expenses are under the microscope again, this time by a magistrate.

Three MPs in the dock, charged with offences relating to their expenses. In The Guardian, Simon Hoggart says they went from being "kings of the castle to a glass cage".

The Daily Telegraph says that the City of Westminster magistrates court "possesses about as much architectural distinction as a squash court".

The Daily Mail explains that the judge moved the MPs from the body of the court into the dock, where "countless criminals, drunks and shoplifters" have stood before.

It says that MPs must be subjected to the same justice as any other citizen charged with a criminal offence.

Take That

Meanwhile, The Times has a dramatic headline of "torture, terror and table tennis" relating to British hostage Peter Moore's 31 months as a hostage in Iraq. His guards, by the way, were the ones playing table tennis.

Could it be tragic? Take That and that and that.

Most puns of the day award on the Mark Owen story.

He is the baby-faced pop singer, five months married and having confessed to a string of affairs over his five years together with his now wife.

The Sun and the Daily Mirror both lead with that story, and the words "betrayed", "drinking demons" and "rehab hell" all feature. Meanwhile the rest of the band was in a recording studio on Thursday with Robbie Williams, according to The Sun.

Could it be PR? Only time will tell.

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