Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: RHI, Trump in Portrush and Mrs St Patrick

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme makes its return to the front pages on Friday, joined by another source of controversy - President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump plans to visit Portrush in 2019, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

No, the president hasn't bought a caravan in the seaside resort.

Instead the DUP's Ian Paisley says Mr Trump plans to take up his invitation to attend the Open golf tournament at Royal Portrush.

At a traditional St Patrick's Day event in Washington DC on Thursday, the president described Royal Portrush as "a great, great course".

The paper says that Mr Trump could also travel down the County Antrim coast to Carrickfergus to visit the Andrew Jackson Cottage.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Could Donald Trump be visiting Portrush soon?

The Irish News and News Letter focus on the list of non-domestic beneficiaries of the controversial RHI scheme. Both papers publish the full list.

The News Letter says one farmer has been paid almost £660,000 in less than four years under the scheme.

Paul Hobson, a Dungannon poultry farmer who supplies Moy Park, has 13 wood pellet heating systems at his facility.

When all costs are factored in, the paper says that Mr Hobson has made £80,000 in profit from using the boilers.

He says the improved conditions in his sheds have seen "quite an upturn in the return from my chickens" and his site and been audited by Ofgem and given a clean bill of health.

The Irish News says that £27m has already been paid out to 400 companies and organisations, with chicken and turkey farmers prominent on the list.

Michael Petticrew, director of Ballyclare-based lorry dealer Dennison Commercials which received £343,734 in subsidy payments, tells the paper that getting involved in the scheme was "not without risk".

"We now have 11 boilers and instead of burning tens of thousands of litres of oil from overseas we're burning wood pellets grown here in Northern Ireland," he says.

Going green

Another list featured prominently in The Irish News is one detailing St Patrick's Day events in Northern Ireland.

Parades are being held in Belfast, Londonderry, Downpatrick, Armagh and Newry.

The Belfast Telegraph says the world is going green as landmarks across the globe are transformed for St Patrick's Day. It also talks to ex-pats living in London, Australia and South Africa about how they celebrate the day.

The paper also says pupils from Methody and Belfast Inst will not be staging their traditional processions from their school gates to the Kingspan stadium for the Schools' Cup rugby final.

The Telegraph's Jim McDowell says the "colourful pupil parades" have been banished to history "on the advice of the police, Ulster rugby's overlords and with the spectre of the Parades Commission hanging over them".

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers says a delivery company's offer to pay for a "hangover cure" for customers on Saturday "trivialises" binge drinking.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Jim Rodgers hit out at company's hangover cure offer

The company is to give £13 credit to customers who have an entertaining story of "mischief and woe".

The papers also report on the case of three County Armagh businessmen given suspended sentences for supplying bogus electricity-saving devices described as "little more than pieces of plastic".

The News Letter quotes Richard Knipe of Trading Standards, who says: "The laws of physics would have to be rewritten for these devices to have worked in the manner claimed by the defendants."

Mrs St Patrick

In a final twist on St Patrick's Day, the Irish News features a call from a University College Cork academic for the festivities to be extended into 18 March, a day to celebrate the saint's "long-forgotten" wife Sheelah.

The paper says folklorist Shane Lehane came across "Mrs St Patrick" while scouring Irish newspapers from before the Great Famine.

Further evidence was found in old texts which showed that Ireland's national day of celebrations spilled over into a second day.

Plans may already be afoot in Belfast Holyland area...