Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Drug death, online threat and baby ties

The front page of the News Letter on Wednesday
Image caption The front page of the News Letter on Wednesday

The Irish News front page features an appeal from the mother of an 18-year-old woman from west Belfast who was found dead hours after taking cocaine and ecstasy.

An inquest on Tuesday heard Caitlin McVeigh-Conlon died after the drugs found in her system induced one or more seizures.

The teenager had just moved into a new home with her partner and six-month-old child when she died.

Her mother, Paula Conlon, has appealed to those involved with drugs "to think twice" before taking them.

Online threats against former Ulster Unionist Lagan Valley MLA Jenny Palmer are the main story in the Belfast Telegraph.

It is understood the comments on her Facebook page warn Mrs Palmer and her councillor husband, John, to leave the area.

Mrs Palmer said they made her feel "vulnerable". She said she had told the police about the abuse and refused to be intimidated.

DUP leader Arlene Foster's "delight" at the support she received from her party's new group of MLAs on Tuesday makes the front page of the News Letter.

It also says one DUP MLA has already responded to North Antrim MP Ian Paisley's comments that the party could do with "perhaps a bit of humble pie being served up and eaten".

Image caption Georgina Doherty at home with baby Saphia

East Londonderry MLA Maurice Bradley apparently tweeted to the paper that Mr Paisley "would need to take his own advice". "It is clear he is out on a limb here and does not speak for me," he added.

Meanwhile, the Irish News reports that Sinn Féin had some advice for Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire after their talks at Stormont.

Michelle O'Neill accused Mr Brokenshire of "waffle" and voiced frustration at his replies on funding for legacy inquests.

She said they had asked him to "come back with a positive outcome for those families that need access to the coroner's inquest reports".

Mr Brokenshire, who had discussions with the five main parties, said the meetings had been "businesslike" and recognised "a sense of the urgency of what is at hand here".

The News Letter reports the comments from the head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland, Sir Malcolm McKibbin, that a lack of an agreed budget is one of the "most difficult and pressing issues".

He says there "is a small window of opportunity" to allow a new executive to agree a budget and put it to the assembly before the start of the new financial year.

Shoelaces

The Daily Mirror adds that Sir Malcolm has written to all staff setting out the way ahead if a new executive is not established by April.

It states that in such circumstances the Department of Finance's permanent secretary has powers to allocate a limited proportion of the block grant.

Separately, the Mirror indicates Prime Minister Theresa May will not be flying to Northern Ireland anytime soon to broker a deal.

Mr Brokenshire has been in regular contact with the PM and is expected to brief her at Wednesday's cabinet meeting. Mrs May's involvement in talks at some stage in the future has not been ruled out.

Politicians are used to tying themselves in knots, but if they need a helping hand, Donegal dad Paul Doherty might be the answer.

Mr Doherty used his shoelaces to tie his new baby daughter's umbilical cord after his wife, Georgina, gave birth in the back of the family car, as they made their way to Altnagelvin Hospital.

A heartwarming picture of Georgina and baby Saphia features on the front of the Belfast Telegraph.

"Paul was very relaxed about it all," Georgina said. "I suppose he had no choice really and she came so quickly in the end."