Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Bishop quits and chaos from cold snap hits

News Letter front page Image copyright The News Letter
Image caption The front page of the News Letter on Friday

A bishop's resignation and the chaos caused by the cold snap are the main themes in the daily newspapers on Friday.

The Irish News reports that the Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey has quit his post after revelations that he celebrated Mass alongside paedophile priest Fr Malachy Finnegan.

Fr Finnegan, who taught at St Colman's College in Newry and was later its president, has been accused of sexual abuse by 12 people.

The newspaper notes that Bishop McAreavey's resignation has taken place amid growing calls for a public inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland.

In an editorial, it describes his resignation statement as a "swift and direct response from the bishop in difficult circumstances".

Image caption Bishop John McAreavey has resigned amid controversy over celebrating Mass alongside a priest he knew was a paedophile.

It also says there is a need to address the concerns of abuse survivors in Northern Ireland, and that the death of Kincora abuse campaigner Clint Massey is "a reminder that time is not on the side of some victims".

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports that solicitor Claire McKeegan, who represents a number of Fr Finnegan's alleged victims, has said she has received calls from numerous further witnesses since a settlement by one of her clients was made public recently.

"The message is clear - victims demand a public inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland without any further delay," she added.

"Gridlocked in NI's £80m blizzard" is the strapline across the top of the Belfast Telegraph, as it reports comments from economist John Simpson that the "loss of daily output coupled with the cost of repairing damage caused by the weather could amount to around £28m per day".

It says more than 300 schools were closed on Thursday, as "shops and restaurants pulled down their shutters early and public transport ground to a halt as the cold snap wreaked havoc".

The Met Office has said weather warnings remain in place for Northern Ireland until Saturday.

The News Letter reports that the region is divided by the weather with some parts being hit harder than others. Images on the front page contrast a snow-blasted Moneyrea in County Down with an unscathed Greenisland in County Antrim.

Unfortunately romance has also taken a battering, with one Emma's dreams of a white wedding at Darver Castle in County Louth in the Republic of Ireland being dashed by the impact of her namesake - Storm Emma.

The Irish News reports that Emma O'Kane and her fiance Chris Butler from County Armagh had to postpone their big day due to deteriorating weather conditions.

They have now rebooked for 29 March, but before that, they hope to travel to Cuba for their honeymoon this weekend.

"It's a bit back-to-front but we might as well salvage what we can," Chris said.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Snow is continuing to cause disruption in Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, the courage of a dedicated paramedic who trudged through the snow to help a patient in need is hailed by the Daily Mirror.

It says a rapid response team was called to the South Down area on Thursday, but. due to the snow. could only get within a mile of the house.

The paramedic then carried his equipment for a mile through treacherous conditions to get to the woman who had reported being short of breath. She is now recovering in hospital.

The Belfast Telegraph's front page reports that a social media post from the account of an SDLP councillor has described DUP leader Arlene Foster "in the most explicitly offensive language possible".

It says the DUP has urged the SDLP to take action against Dungannon councillor Denise Mullen who claimed the message had been sent on by her son by mistake.

Image caption Work has started in a bid to establish if there is another castle in Carrickfergus

It was posted into the Dungannon Regeneration Partnership's WhatsApp group on Wednesday night.

The newspaper says that the following morning, in a message to the group, Ms Mullen apologised for the previous post and said her young son had been playing with her phone while she showered and had accidently forwarded the image. She said that as soon as she became aware of the image she alerted council officers and ensured it was removed.

Finally, Carrickfergus in County Antrim is famous for its castle, but The News Letter reports that work has started to establish if a hotel in the town is hiding another one "dating back to the 1400s".

It says owners of the Dobbins Inn, along with experts from the Historic Environment Division, suspect that beneath the hotel's exterior stands much of the "Urban Tower House seen on 16th century maps of the town".

Plaster will be removed from places throughout the hotel as part of the project to investigate the building's history.