Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Rescues, Irish mockery and sausage thief

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Two dramatic rescues fill the front pages of Thursday's papers, but rows over bonfires, flags and DUP mockery of the Irish language also make headlines.

A "modest hero" is praised for saving three children who were being swept out to sea off Ballycastle, County Antrim.

The Belfast Telegraph says Nataniel Hunter "charged into the water" after hearing the children - aged 10, 11 and 12 - screaming for help.

"Anyone would have done the same," the 34-year-old joiner told the paper.

By the time lifeboats and a rescue helicopter arrived at the scene, the children had been pulled onto the shore.

Wednesday was a very busy day for the emergency services - earlier an Army cadet group's hike in the Mourne Mountains turned into a major incident when they got caught out by "atrocious" weather.

'Lessons must be learned'

Helicopters, a fleet of ambulances and coastguard and mountain rescue teams were deployed to help the cadets, some as young as 12, and their leaders.

Several of the cadets were suffering from hypothermia, others had ankle injuries from slipping on wet stones, and a number were taken off the mountain on stretchers.

Image caption Some of those rescued in the Mournes were given foil blankets to keep them warm

The Daily Mirror's headline screams: "73 Rescued in Mournes Terror."

The Belfast Telegraph and News Letter carry quotes from unionist politicians Doug Beattie and Henry Reilly who say "lessons must be learned" from the incident.

'Bonfire smokescreen'

The Irish News leads with anger from residents in seven north Belfast tower blocks who have found out that the police have been given master keys to their homes.

The paper reports that the keys were handed over by the Housing Executive in June, "strictly on the basis for use in emergency situations".

However, the flats are home to some former republican prisoners. Residents groups voiced concern that they were not consulted.

Image caption Police now have master keys to the seven New Lodge tower blocks

In the News Letter, Sinn Féin is accused of using a crackdown on republican anti-internment bonfires as a "smokescreen" to restrict loyalist Eleventh Night bonfires.

Unionists objected to a Sinn Féin motion to allow council staff and contractors to remove materials from dangerous bonfires.

'Pallets for decking'

The Irish News says the proposal passed with 31 votes to 22, with nationalist and Alliance in favour and unionists and greens voting against it.

The paper also carries a photo of wooden pallets stacked in the back yard of a Housing Executive house in the New Lodge area of Belfast.

The woman who lives in the house would not allow the authorities to remove the stockpiled wood, telling the paper she wanted the pallets for "decking".

Bonfires aside, the News Letter says a Democratic Unionist Party MP has "reignited tensions" with Sinn Féin with another jibe at the Irish language.

It says Gregory Campbell ridiculed the Gasyard Féile community festival by referring to it as the "Gasyard Failure".

'Offensive'

The paper alluded to the East Londonderry's previous mockery of Irish when he used the phrase "Curry my yoghurt" in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The jibe was a reference to the Irish phrase "go raibh maith agat," which means thank you.

Image caption Gregory Campbell brought a yoghurt prop to the DUP's annual conference in 2014

Sinn Féin's Raymond McCartney told the paper the "failure" comment was "crass, offensive and completely lacking in respect".

It seems the long arm of the law does not reach outside the walls of Newtownards Courthouse, according to reports in the Belfast Telegraph and Irish News.

The Telegraph says there is "fury" in the County Down town after a loyalist paramilitary flag was erected outside the building.

Alliance councillor Kellie Armstrong tells the Irish News it could interfere "with the administration of justice, as they could intimidate anyone using the courthouse itself".

Meaty issue

Court reporters were a little taken back when a self-confessed sausage thief tried to get on first name terms with a judge at Belfast's Magistrates Court.

Belfast man Michael McNally, who has almost 300 previous convictions, was jailed after admitting a new spate of shoplifting, including the theft of 10 packs of sausages.

His defence lawyer told district judge Fiona Bagnall that McNally had managed to stay out of jail for six weeks, "which he says is a record for him".

As he was led to the cells, McNally called out to the judge: "That's OK, see you later Fiona."