Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Weekend deaths dominate headlines

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The Irish News, Belfast Telegraph and News Letter all lead with the same story, the death of three young people over the weekend.

The word "drugs" appears in all three headlines.

A 19-year-old woman died in Omagh, County Tyrone on Saturday. A 24-year-old man has been charged with a number of drug-related offences in relation to her death.

The Irish News reports that the young woman has been described locally as "kind" and "bubbly".

The bodies of two young men were found in the Drumtara estate in Ballymena, also on Saturday. A local MLA has linked their deaths to drugs but a post-mortem examination has still to be carried out.

'Pilgrimage'

The Irish News reports that the grave of the former Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, has become a "place of tourist pilgrimage".

Their source for the story, Derry city cemetery tour guide Sean Breslin, has compared the phenomenon to the popularity of visiting the Irish independence leader Michael Collins' grave in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Further into the paper the Irish News reveals that the Catholic Church has issued guidelines for its priests, who are officially celibate, who have fathered children.

The story carries comments from Déarbhla Clarke, whose father, Fr Arty McAnerney, admitted on the altar of his church in Beragh, County Tyrone, in 1998 that he had fathered a child.

Interrogation of gay men

With the recent anniversary of the decriminalisation of private homosexual acts between men over 21 years in England and Wales, the Irish News has a two-page feature on the experiences of gay men in Northern Ireland, who had to wait a further 15 years before the ban was lifted.

The men recall being interrogated by the police in the 1970s.

The Belfast Telegraph has what it hails as an exclusive interview with Kate Russo, who is an "eclipse chaser", someone who is fascinated by eclipses.

The clinical psychologist is in Wyoming in the USA awaiting the rare event, a two minute long total eclipse of the sun due to be seen on Monday morning.

Papal visit call

The Telegraph also carries comments from Belfast-born priest Fr Tim Bartlett, who has said a visit by Pope Francis to Northern Ireland would be a "beautiful closure to a very turbulent and difficult history".

Fr Bartlett recalled the previous visit by a Catholic pontiff to Ireland in 1979, he said he was disappointed that Pope John Paul did not visit Northern Ireland at that time.

The News Letter has an interesting story on page three, detailing the historic Northern Ireland landmarks, including a nuclear bunker, which will be open to the public for two days next month.

The paper's editorial welcomes the news and takes the opportunity to call for strong conservation laws.

Should we call it a day?

On its opinion pages, Alex Kane promotes a rather gloomy view.

Referring to the current impasse in Northern Ireland politics he said: "Maybe what we should do is draw a line under the present and accept the present process is, to all intents and purposes, redundant."

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