Northern Ireland

Paper Review: Horror in Barcelona, Lisburn Road parking

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

The papers all lead with local angles on Thursday's horrific attack in Barcelona.

Thirteen people died and dozens were injured when a van ploughed into crowds in the city's Las Ramblas area in the afternoon.

The Belfast Telegraph speaks to a newlywed couple from west Belfast who were caught up in the horror.

Martin and Sharon Kane were on honeymoon in the city and described the scene as "chaos".

"People were screaming and crying. It was a stampede," Mr Kane told the paper. "We just ran into the nearest hotel. We were all panicked and Sharon was crying her eyes out."

The Irish News also reports on a County Armagh woman who was near the area at the time. Alana Fearon describes how "up to 13 police vans with riot police came past us".

"A police car came up and policeman shouted 'indoors, indoors' on a megaphone".

Ms Fearon, from Camlough, said she hopes to fly back to Dublin soon.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police inspect the vehicle used in the Cambrils attack

The News Letter speaks to Lurgan man Peter Nesbitt who teaches in the city.

Mr Nesbitt was not caught up in the attack, but has heard constant sirens since.

"The attack on Barcelona is something I did imagine happening," he said, citing the number of "western tourists" in the city.

'Heartbroken'

Elsewhere in the papers, there's a stark warning about the dangers of drugs on the front page of the Irish News.

The "heartbroken" family of a west Belfast man who died of a drugs overdose, has made an "emotional appeal" to young people to stay away from drugs.

Darren McCann was found dead in October, after a lethal prescription drugs overdose.

His dad, Damien, said: "I loved him with all my heart. A part of me has died.

"We lost our son and I hope you can open your eyes and see what it does and what it has done to our lives."

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Who runs the world?

James Brown once sang that it was a "man's world".

But women and girls in Northern Ireland have once again trounced their male counterparts in A-level results, report the papers.

One third of entries (33.3%) from girls achieved A* or A grades, compared to 26.8% of entries from boys getting those grades.

However, the Irish News reports that reasons behind the gender disparity are to be investigated.

Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) chief Justin Edwards said: "Whilst we must recognise and celebrate the achievements of female students, a widening of the gender gap is a concern."

The News Letter reports that while girls may be achieving better overall, there are still concerns when it comes to the number of female pupils doing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

More girls have studied STEM subjects over the last four years but growth has not been the same this year.

BT9 parking

The Lisburn Road may be one of the most salubrious places to shop in Belfast but, according to the Belfast Telegraph, it's also where to go if you want a parking ticket.

The paper reports that more tickets were issued on the BT9 road in six months than in four towns, Coleraine, Strabane, Portrush and Dungannon, put together.

Figures obtained from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) show 1,761 penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued on the Lisburn Road in the time period.

After Belfast, the second most ticketed place is Newry.

Incidentally, there are some perks if you live in one of the following 12 towns, where no parking tickets were issued at all:

  • Ahoghill
  • Armagh
  • Ballykelly
  • Castlewellan
  • Cullybackey
  • Dromore
  • Gilford
  • Kesh
  • Newtownstewart
  • Portballintrae
  • Richhill
  • Tandragee

The DfI said illegal parking has "knock-on impacts" for those trying to get around towns and cities.