Northern Ireland

Weekly newspaper review: From Pupil power to a 'zulu spear'

Newry Democrat Image copyright Newry Democrat
Coleraine Times Image copyright Coleraine Times
Ballymena Guardian Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
Strabane Chronicle Image copyright Strabane Chronicle
Lurgan Mail Image copyright Lurgan Mail

Pupil power, people power, and even a 'zulu spear', there's plenty of variety in this week's weekly papers.

The Newry Democrat has the story of the children of St Patricks Primary school in Mayobridge, County Down, taking direct action in defence of their patrol lady.

The children, accompanied by adults of course, blocked the main Newry to Hilltown road in protest after their patrol lady, Aveen Killen, was almost knocked down by a car said to have been speeding.

That incident came just months after Ms Killen was struck on the arm by another car.

Both vehicles were coming from the Hilltown direction, the paper reports.

Image copyright Newry, Mourne & Down PCSP
Image caption Pupil power - the children of Mayobridge demanding drivers slow down!

Locals have long complained that few cars seem to adhere to the 30mph speed limit as they pass through the hamlet.

However, despite the protest the Newry Democrat reports that Transport NI has no plans to introduce any further traffic calming measures in Mayobridge.

The principal of St Patrick's, Margaret Ryan, told the Democrat that the situation was at "crisis point".

Zulu spear

As headlines go, "Man threatened to kill with a 'zulu spear'" is probably not what one would immediately expect to see having flicked to page three of the Coleraine Times.

That headline relates to a court case in Coleraine over a stabbing incident in the town last June.

Twenty-year-old Nathan Robert McIntyre, formerly of Weavers Court in Coleraine, pleaded guilty to a number of changes.

A defence lawyer said McIntyre had not himself manufactured the makeshift weapon, but had been given it by a friend prompted by his nickname - Swahili.

Mr McIntyre was sentenced to one year in prison and two on licence.

Fermanagh wants its share

If there was any doubt about what the Fermanagh Herald was after with their lead headline - "Worst county in Ireland for jobs" - the sub-headline below kills off any chance of a misunderstanding: "Fermanagh crying out for share of DUP's £1bn windfall".

Image copyright PA
Image caption DUP leader Arlene Foster is a Fermanagh native

The piece points out that Fermanagh has just 1.19% of the available jobs in Ireland. The paper says that makes the county the "worst performing" in terms of job creation, and that that is due to its border location.

A picture of Fermanagh native, and DUP leader, Arlene Foster accompanies the piece.

The paper's editorial piece is entitled "The case for Fermanagh's cut" - in reference to the income Northern Ireland will receive as part of the £1bn confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives.

Its final line sums up the paper's view: "Let's just hope, when the time comes to share out the spoils of this famous general election, we're not forgotten about like we have been so many times in the past."

The Ballymena Guardian splashes with an exclusive story on a council whistleblower.

"Mid and East Antrim Council is conducting an internal probe into the procurement of a major professional services contract, following complaints from a 'whistleblower'," the paper reports.

Details of this investigation came to light in the minutes of the council's Audit and Scrutiny Committee meeting in May, which had been held behind closed doors at the time.

Postal fails

The Strabane Chronicle fears: "More and more people in Strabane could see their mail arriving late or not at all, as the local postal service lumbers towards a crisis situation."

The story is based on reports from staff in the town's Royal Mail sorting office who say they are "fed up" and "done" due to staffing shortages.

The paper reports that there have been a number of "fails" in the town's postal service in recent times.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Strabane Chronicle reports that postal workers in the town are 'fed up'

Speaking of letters...

"Are gender-neutral school uniforms coming to Strabane?" That's the question asked by a former Castlederg teacher and Ulster Teachers' Union official on the Chronicle's letters page.

Lewis Love is calling for the rights of young people "who don't fit the general binary perception of gender" to be respected, "even if that means radical changes in uniform".

Shoes, not politics

Meanwhile, "'People power' led to action on Clendinnings" is the front-page headline in the Lurgan Mail.

The paper details the story of how diggers moved in to clear a former factory site in the north of the town which had become a "major anti-social hotspot".

The Mail does not hold back on its description of the area saying it was an anti-social behaviour "Mecca" and that local residents have been "tortured" by that behaviour.

The PSNI described the location as a "drugs den" with children being "drunk, unconscious and covered in urine" at the site.

The Mail says its destruction is the result of local residents taking to the streets and demanding action.

The Mail also has an interesting story of the oldest shoe store in Northern Ireland - and possibly the whole of Ireland.

The McConville family have been keeping the people of Lurgan shod and booted for an incredible 144 years.

The great grandson of the founder Paddy McConville, Jarleth McConville, is now in his 50th year of running the business.

"I stay clear of politics and stick to music and shoes," Jarlath tells the paper.