Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Orangeman's conviction, political plan

Front page of the News Letter on Friday

Orangeman John Aughey is on the front page of most of the morning newspapers after he was found guilty of six charges following an incident in north Belfast in which a teenage girl was trapped under his car.

Phoebe Clawson, then 16, sustained a fractured pelvis, ankle and collarbone in the crash in July 2015. Two police officers were among the others injured.

The News Letter reports that some jurors gasped when they were shown the moment the teenager was flung under the bonnet of the car.

She spent two weeks in hospital after undergoing a five-hour operation on her "shattered pelvis".

Aughey, 63, who had denied the charges, will be sentenced for causing grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and common assault at a later date.

The crash happened during a nationalist protest on 13 July following a Parades Commission ruling not to allow an Orange lodge and flute bands to walk past Ardoyne shop fronts on their return journey.

Cladding concerns

The repercussions of the London tower block fire which killed at least 30 people also feature again in the papers, with The Irish News and The Daily Mirror considering concerns in Northern Ireland.

The Mirror says health trusts have been ordered to carry out a safety review on hospital cladding following the blaze at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.

It says a number of Northern Ireland hospitals were recently refurbished, but it is unclear if cladding was used.

Cladding was used in the renovation of South Tyrone Hospital in Dungannon and it will be reviewed by experts.

The Irish News reports that a senior fire safety expert voiced "grave concern" about a major regeneration project to clad tower blocks in north Belfast.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Theresa May has issued a warning to political leaders in Northern Ireland over talks on restoring devolution

Two of the seven New Lodge tower blocks were clad during refurbishment.

During a consultation process, Dave Sibert of the Fire Brigade Union had warned it could "severely" limit the ability of firefighters to tackle a blaze.

The Housing Executive has said Mr Sibert's observations on the New Lodge scheme "were based on limited information".

The Belfast Telegraph says Northern Ireland's political landscape could be different if proposed new boundary changes are adopted.

Cat trap

Suzanne Breen's story reports that leading election prediction website Electoral Calculus believes the cutting of Northern Ireland's constituencies in a general election to 17 would give Sinn Féin nine MPs and the DUP seven.

The paper says predictions are based on the results from last week's Westminster poll, the 2014 local government results and the most recent census data.

Politics is also on the front of the News Letter which carries Prime Minister Theresa May's warning that "time is running out" for Northern Ireland's political leaders to reach a deal on restoring devolution.

She said if no resolution was reached the government will "need to consider what steps we need to take to ensure Northern Ireland has the political stability it needs".

In terms of a Conservative Party and DUP agreement at Westminster however, The Daily Mirror reports North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds saying there is no deadline for that deal.

He also says he had told Mrs May that his party stood ready to form a new power-sharing executive "without any preconditions or red lines".

Irish News political correspondent John Manley says Mrs May's meetings with the political parties in Northern Ireland "failed to shed any light on what is being discussed by the British government and the DUP, so suspicions about it benefitting unionist sectional interests will inevitably persist".

"If only the walls could talk" is a popular phrase and one that engineer Campbell Baird thought was becoming a reality as he worked at his house in Carrickfergus.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Mr Baird could hear the "walls meowing" at the partly-built property.

He eventually released stricken feline Francee who had got trapped in the cavity between the walls by using a drill, chisel and hammer.

Following a social media appeal, the cat has now been reunited with her happy owner.