Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Eurovision, ewes and would-be thief

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The sun may not be shining today as it has been all week, but a happy heifer from Thursday's Balmoral Show beams out of the front page of both the News Letter and the Belfast Telegraph.

After a glorious two days of near-perfect weather, there's plenty in the papers on Northern Ireland's top agricultural event.

The Belfast Telegraph picks up on the story of a group of young inmates from Hydebank Prison, who were among those flaunting their flock at the show.

Two Border Leicester ewes and their three lambs are being used by the Prison Service to teach the inmates livestock and husbandry skills.

Image copyright Pekic
Image caption The sun has been shining on the livestock at Balmoral

The hope is that the training will help create employment opportunities for the men when they return to the community.

The paper reports that the sheep were brought into Hydebank last September.

Some of the inmates are responsible for feeding, watering and moving the sheep as required.

Later in the paper some of Northern Ireland's young farmers - one just 11 years old - share their worries about the impact of Brexit.

The price of milk and beef both feature as concerns for the youngsters, with one saying that getting 'conacre', or ground to rent, is a big issue for the next generation.

Also in the Belfast Telegraph is a report that the energy watchdog Ofgem has suspended a staff member after a list of names of those claiming grants for the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) was leaked.

In February, BBC broadcaster, Stephen Nolan said he had the full list of businesses claiming from the controversial scheme, but there was a court order preventing the names being published.

'Daylight robbery'

Ofgem told the paper they do not comment on staffing issues.

Most of the front page of the Irish News is taken up by a photograph which the paper says shows an attempt to steal from a tourist in "broad daylight" in west Belfast.

The report says a French tourist stopped to take pictures on Albert Street before a man attempted to steal their camera bag.

"It is believed that a car stopped and two men got out to help." the paper says.

"They are said to have given chase as the suspect made off, discarding his bicycle at one point and escaping on foot, empty handed.

"A photograph was posted on social media by Beechmount Residents Collective."

Eurovision dreams shattered

A police spokesperson said there had been a report of an attempted theft of articles belonging to two tourists, a male and female, in the Albert Street area at about 13:00 BST on Thursday.

The same story features on the front of the Daily Mirror.

Inside is the news that Ireland has already crashed out of the Eurovision song contest.

Singer Brendan Murray, 20, from County Galway represented the nation with power ballad 'Dying to Try'.

But competing the former boyband member missed out on the top-10 place he needed to advance to the grand final tomorrow night.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ireland has won the contest seven times

It is the fourth year in a row that Ireland has failed to qualify for the Eurovision final.

Ireland has won the contest the most times, with seven victories, followed by Sweden with six, and the UK, France and Luxembourg each with five wins.

The News Letter leads with "EU chief's blunt Brexit border message".

It says Michel Barnier warned that customs controls on the Irish border were likely after Brexit.

Threats to kill

Mr Barnier is on a two-day visit to Ireland ahead of the beginning of Brexit negotiations.

He is expected to meet local business owners, who could be negatively affected if tariffs were imposed on trade between the UK and EU.

Inside, there's a story about a 40-year-old Belfast man who has been found guilty of sex with a 14-year-old girl he met at an eleventh night bonfire party.

Stephen Meneice, from Thompson House on the Antrim Road, committed the sexual crimes over two months in 2012.

He was also found guilty of making threats to kill the girl.

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