Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Bottleneck's cost and Rory's $100m deal

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

Northern Ireland's "worst bottleneck", cancer drugs and a $100m (£77.3m) deal for Rory McIlroy make the headlines in Wednesday's papers.

The News Letter says that delays in upgrading the A6 dual carriageway hurts the Northern Ireland economy every day.

Work on the road has been delayed again after environmentalist Chris Murphy lodged a court appeal contesting part of the route.

However, Seamus Leheny, of the Freight Transport Association, said the manufacturing industry is being hamstrung by the cost of moving goods around Northern Ireland.

"The scheme, when it is built, it's not only going to save commuters' time, but it will save money for companies importing and exporting goods. It will save the hauliers money as well," he tells the paper.

'Begging for my life'

Terminally ill mother-of-two Melanie Kennedy tells the Belfast Telegraph she has been forced to beg for her life to receive a breast cancer drug.

The drug, Kadcyla, is available on the NHS in Scotland, but is only offered privately in Northern Ireland, at a cost of £20,000.

The mother of two wants the life-prolonging drug so she can spend more time with her two sons.

She says she and other campaigners have been talking to the Department of Health about changing the way drugs can be accessed in Northern Ireland.

"We were being heard. But none of this can happen when we have no government," she says.

Staying with health issues, the Irish News says that a "huge NHS quango" due to be abolished last month will remain in place for another two years.

The decision to axe the Health and Social Care Board Board was announced in 2015 by then health minister Simon Hamilton after it was criticised in a review by Sir Liam Donaldson.

The Irish News says the board spent £28m on salaries in 2015/16. It says it will now continue until 2019.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy strikes a pose on the front page of the Daily Mirror.

It says the Holywood golfer has signed a $100m deal with TaylorMade to use its clubs, balls and bags.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rory McIlroy has signed a $100m deal with TaylorMade

McIlroy says he hopes he can use the equipment to take over as world number one from rival Dustin Johnson.

Inside, the Mirror says that a communal area at a block of west Belfast flats has been turned into a suspected drug den.

Sinn Féin councillor Mary McConville says she found needles and bloodied swabs in the hallway of Ross Street flats when she visited at the weekend.

The Balmoral show, which gets under way today, is covered by all the papers.

Described as an agricultural extravaganza by the News Letter, the Irish News says the new extended show "has something for everyone".

The Belfast Telegraph features "the devoted band behind Balmoral's rare breeds", among them Katesbridge man Geoffrey Ringland, who says his typical day begins at 04:15 when he gets up to tend to his goats and clean their stalls "before I start my other job".

And I thought I had an early start this morning.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption North West 200 practice sessions are taking place

Another huge event getting under way is the North West 200 motorbike races, however, the Belfast Telegraph reports that everything did not go quite as planned at Tuesday's practice session.

A vehicle - provided to race director Mervyn Whyte by race sponsors Vauxhall - stalled due to a dead battery bringing a temporary halt, and red flag, to proceedings.

Race officials and stewards were despatched to push the car away from the track and allow racing to resume.

A case of a red flag and red face for Mr Whyte?