Northern Ireland

Paper review: Stormont cats, Lego Trump and a 20p theft

newsletter Image copyright News Letter

Thursday's newspaper front pages all take different directions.

"Listen up," splashes the News Letter. The paper takes us to the European Parliament in Strasbourg and reports on the telling off Michael Barnier got from a UUP MEP.

Jim Nicholson was speaking in the chamber about Northern Ireland's "integral roll in the UK" when he saw the French politician "twiddling with his telephone".

The Armagh MEP suggested Mr Barnier "actually listen to the speech".

The paper reports that the two made up later, however, with Mr Nicholson saying they had a "good and constructive meeting" in the chief Brexit negotiator's office.

Image caption A pensioner who feeds cats at Stormont has been banned from doing so (political cats not pictured)

'Cats on the hill'

Cat lovers, look away now. The Belfast Telegraph reports that three cats who have made the grounds of Stormont their home are the latest victims of the collapse of the political institutions.

A security review means a pensioner has been banned from feeding the cats, says the paper.

Edna Watters said she was "broken-hearted" as she has been caring for cats at Stormont, day-in, day-out, for 30 years.

The paper reports it has seen an email from the Stormont Estate Management Unit (SEMU), saying: "Only those visitors with a valid business reason can access restricted areas of the estate.

"Feeding cats does not constitute a business need," it adds.

Hence why Edna has been refused entry. But there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the 76-year-old - the cats' homes are to be moved to a more suitable area where she will be free to visit them.

The Irish News leads with the news of a spike in calls to a Belfast surgery from patients fearing they will die after a spate of sudden deaths over the weekend.

At least three of the five Belfast deaths, one of which was a 16-year old girl, were connected to drugs, say police.

Dr Michael McKenna, whose surgery is based on the Falls Road, said one of the people who died was a patient of his and he had been contacted by several people, including a teenager who had taken 20 "street diazepam" at once.

Boot raffle

One headline in the paper strikes a particularly bitter-sweet note.

"Parents whose newborn son died now raffling ex-Tyrone stars boots in aid of hospital baby unit". Ballinderry couple Sinead and Cormac McIvor's baby Franky tragically died after living for a few days before passing away in February.

But the big-hearted couple are hoping to raise money for the Royal's neo-natal intensive care unit in Belfast by auctioning Tyrone GAA star Owen Mulligan's boots.

Mrs McIvor said she and her husband were keen to help the unit after the expert care baby Franky received.

'Trump immortalised in Lego'

Talk about building with bricks and Donald Trump might bring to mind US plans for a wall along the border with Mexico, but the News Letter has the story of a Belfast artist who has captured the image of the POTUS using Lego bricks.

Image copyright David Turner
Image caption A teenage Trump immortalised in Lego

The creation, which is of President Trump as a teenager, is just one of the subjects of David Turner's latest collection which looks at famous politicians in their "formative years".

It looks like the piece has already been snapped up by an art collector.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a "massive quantity of 20p coins", understood to amount to thousands of pounds, were stolen from a house in Ligoniel in north Belfast on Tuesday.

The coins were in two large glass jars.

All the papers report on the PSNI's "action plan" to recruit more Catholics.

However bringing back the 50/50 policy has been ruled out.

The Irish News says recent recruitment drives have "struggled to attract new Catholic officers".

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Just 31% of those to apply in three recent police recruitment drives were from a Catholic background

The News Letter says the PSNI intends to start a new recruitment drive targeting "cold spots" this autumn.

A number of changes will also be made in the recruitment process, it says.

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