Northern Ireland

NI weekly paper review: 'Fire engine rampage'

Ulster Herald Image copyright Ulster Herald
Larne Times Image copyright Larne Times
Mourne Observer Image copyright Mourne Observer
Londonderry Sentinel Image copyright Londonderry Sentinel
Impartial Reporter Image copyright Impartial Reporter
Lurgan Mail Image copyright Lurgan Mail

Long after the national media spotlight moves on, local reporters remain to give insight into the effects of events on their communities.

Northern Ireland's local papers are no exception: This week's front pages show a police station for sale, the tragedy of young person losing their life in a road accident, vandalism and of course the everlasting issue of parking.

This week's Ulster Herald leads with the death of 18-year-old Hannah Molloy in a car crash near Castlederg last weekend.

The front-page photograph shows her funeral procession making its way through the west Tyrone village.

Her heart-broken father thanked the community for their support since his daughter died.

The Larne Times has a very dramatic picture on its front page, with the headline: "Fire engine rampage: OAP is 'not fit for trial'".

The paper says Robert Duffin, 66, will not face prosecution for allegedly hitching a ride on a stolen fire engine, which crashed into Larne Fire Station, six homes, seven parked cars and a lorry.

The pensioner was described in court as having a "fascination with blue lights".

Image caption The stolen fire engine crashed into the front garden of a terraced house

Ross Clarke, who was a teenager at the time of the incident in March last year, admitted a catalogue of offences and will be sentenced later this month, the paper reports.

A beach litter survey, carried out in Brown's Bay in Islandmagee, is documented in the paper.

Volunteers recorded a total of 412 items, the top five listed as:

  • Plastic caps and lids
  • Other plastics
  • Food wrappers
  • Metal caps and lids
  • Cigarette butts

But for the first time, they also found three dead sea birds, as well as clusters of mussels attached to a coffee jar lid and a Fanta bottle.

"If plastic is ingested by any of these creatures, it can cause not only their death but the pollutants in the plastic could also be passed on through the food chain," said organiser Elena Aceves-Cully.

No to motor-homes

The Mourne Observer leads with a story about motor-homes and how the council is trying to stop them parking in two Newcastle car parks.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is considering putting up height-restriction barriers following complaints about the vehicles taking up premium parking spaces in the town.

Another issue "driving motorists around the bend" concerns a stretch of the B180 Bryansford Road. Apparently it has become a kind of Bermuda triangle for wing mirrors.

The paper has a photo of dozens of broken wing mirrors lying on the grass verge.

The offender? "Rogue branches."

Church vandalised

"Community rallies round Christ Church" is the front page headline in the Londonderry Sentinel.

The story deals with the shocking vandalism carried out on Christ Church on Infirmary Road in Londonderry last Tuesday.

Image copyright Diocese of Derry and Raphoe
Image caption The police believe the break in took place at some point between Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon

The Sentinel details the reaction in the local community, from the shock of parishioners to the revulsion of politicians.

The paper reports that scores of people - including representatives from Sinn Féin and the SDLP and a local Catholic cleric - took up an invitation to attend Sunday service .

Banana man

Page two of the Sentinel brings forth one of those headlines you can not ignore - "Banana 'road danger' charge is withdrawn".

The story concerns the withdrawal of charge, of causing a dangerous article to be on a road, against a teenager.

Unfortunately, the banana pictured in the paper is not the actual banana involved in the incident.

On a serious note, the young man pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly behaviour and causing criminal damage.

The case was adjourned for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Leo Varadkar has been invited to Enniskillen's Remembrance Day ceremony, according to the Impartial Reporter

The Impartial Reporter reports that Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar is to visit Enniskillen on Remembrance Sunday.

The paper understands Mr Varadkar intends to carry on the tradition begun by his predecessor, Enda Kenny.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing, adding to the symbolism that the taoiseach's presence would have.

The Royal British Legion said Mr Varadkar would be very welcome if he chooses to visit.

The Impartial Reporter also has a two-page spread detailing how the success of the Cuilcagh Boardway Walk in Fermanagh is causing "severe damage" to the area and is causing "large-scale erosion" to habitats.

The coverage includes pictures of walkers negotiating some very muddy walks in the Cuilcagh mountains.

A large amount of rubbish is being left behind by some, the paper reports.

Fancy owning a police station?

The Lurgan Mail reports that the former Craigavon police station is up for sale.

The station, which has not been used for five years, is on the market for £850,000.

The price tag includes surrounding 9.2 acres of land described as prime for development.

The paper shows a picture of the station, which was rebuilt after being damaged by a massive bomb in 1991.

It is safe to say that it is unlikely to be transformed into an hotel.

It could make a nice family home however; it has plenty of, well, guest rooms.

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