Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Surfer rescue and swimming pool woes

The front page of the News Letter on 3 May
Image caption The front page of the News Letter on 3 May

Dramatic photographs of the rescue of a Scottish surfer after clinging to his board in the Irish Sea for 32 hours make the front pages of the Belfast Telegraph and the News Letter.

Matthew Bryce from Glasgow was picked up by a coastguard helicopter 13 miles off the Argyll coast on Monday night after going surfing on Sunday morning.

The 22-year-old is quoted in the News Letter describing his rescuers as "heroes" and said he was grateful to be receiving treatment in hospital.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that his father, John, had doubted he would see his son alive again.

"The past 48 hours have been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions for our family and we are so grateful that Matthew has been found safe and well," he said.

"Matthew means the world to us; he is such a strong character both mentally and physically and we are looking forward to being reunited with him."

Both newspapers also report about the possibility of an Irish language officer being appointed at Belfast City Council.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that councillors gave the green light for a public consultation on a draft policy on Linguistic Diversity - which will include plans for a staff member dedicated to promoting Irish.

It says that, if appointed, they would train council staff in Irish, support them in translations and provide services in Irish.

DUP councillor Lee Reynolds' proposal to take the draft policy back to committee was defeated.

Mr Reynolds is quoted in the News Letter as saying "the number of people using the council Irish telephone line is only a handful a year" and that Irish was the fourth most popular in terms of Google translation of the council website.

'Bricks thrown'

Alliance's Michael Long named a list of notable Presbyterians who were Irish enthusiasts. The SDLP's Tim Attwood as well as Sinn Féin's Matthew Collins and Seanna Walsh also spoke in favour of a new Irish language post.

The Irish News front page reports on two children who were critically injured when a car struck them as they crossed a road near Randalstown, County Antrim, in January.

The newspaper says Fintan O'Neill, 14, is now recovering at home and is back at St Patrick's College Maghera. His 11-year-old sister Mary's injuries mean she faces more months in hospital but she is pictured on a visit home in the colours of Kickham's Creggan GAC.

The family has thanked the community for its support: "Today was a great day for us, Mary got home for a few hours this morning," they said in a statement.

It also covers the appeal by a former British soldier turned priest for the IRA to say where murder victim Captain Robert Nairac is buried.

Image caption Bricks were thrown the home of a pregnant woman in east Belfast

Captain Nairac was abducted from a bar at Drumintee in south Armagh in May 1977 before being killed.

His former colleague Fr William Burke says Captain Nairac's family want him to have a proper burial.

The Daily Mirror reports on a campaign that has been launched to help a pregnant woman forced to leave her home after a racially-motivated attack.

It says the Sudanese woman has been forced to flee her home in east Belfast with her husband and two young children after bricks were thrown through the windows of the property. One man has set up a fundraising page to help the woman.

In April, the couple had the windows of their car broken and have also previously had eggs thrown at their house and rubbish thrown into their yard.

In a separate story, the newspaper claims that swimmers used a pool at Andersonstown Leisure Centre in west Belfast unaware it contained human excrement.

It says lifeguards raised the alarm after a child suffered a bout of diarrhoea while in the pool on 21 February. Protocols employed by GLL, the firm which runs leisure facilities in the city, say people should have been moved from the pool with it being flushed six times.

In response, GLL says "full investigations" have been taken into the allegations and that "appropriate action was taken and health and safety guidelines adhered to".