Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Health cuts and flood damage

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The Belfast Telegraph leads with a health story reporting that Northern Ireland's trusts have been ordered to save £10m a month in what the paper describes as "unprecedented cuts".

As the trusts have to find £70m in savings by March and will reveal how they plan to do that later on Thursday, the paper devotes a page of coverage to the story on its inside pages.

Trade Union officials have condemned proposed cuts in the health service as "brutal", questioning what they describe as a lack of consultation over the plans.

In a comment piece, journalist Suzanne Breen writes that the health crisis makes the issues over which [Northern Ireland's] politicians continue to squabble "seem distinctly trivial".

The paper's front page features pictures of the aftermath of Tuesday's flooding in the north west.

The Belfast telegraph also carries the tale of how a US soldier, decorated for his D-Day bravery, was in fact no where near the action in Normandy - he was in Kilkeel, County Down at the time.

George G Klein of Illinois, who is now 96, had been feted as a hero for his role as an elite airborne ranger in the invasion of France.

However, the Overlord D-Day Association says the soldier had been "trapped in a lie", suggesting he "should not be ashamed of his real contribution" to the war due to the fact he was wounded in action in Germany in 1944.

"Thousands of chickens killed in flash flooding" is the headline in the News Letter. Poultry processor Moy Park has confirmed 55,000 adult birds drowned in Tuesday's freak floods.

The chickens belonged to two farmers in County Tyrone.

The Irish News also gives considerable coverage to the storms and subsequent flooding, described by the paper's Derry correspondent as "the worst in living memory".

"Floody Hell," is how the Daily Mirror describes the carnage.

Limerick Orangemen

Following its front page story on Wednesday - "Ulster-Scots chief's £140m shopping list" - the paper now reveals that the board of the Ulster-Scots Agency did not endorse the paper presented to the Department of Communities by agency chief executive Ian Crozier.

The paper's Lodge Life feature page - which tells us it is a mere 322 days to the Twelfth of July - has a fascinating account of the history of Orangeism in the Irish city of Limerick, where the Orange Order no longer has a presence.

The Irish News leads with a west Belfast family's distress after 31-year-old Anthony Carter died of heart failure.

The paper also has a classic GAA story which always pops up at this time of year - the hunt for tickets.

Tyrone clubs are reporting a lack of tickets available for Sunday's All-Ireland football semi-final against reigning champions Dublin - the game's dominant county in modern times.

Tyrone has been given a 12,000-ticket allocation for Croke Park, which holds 82,000 people, the paper reports.

Finally in a rather sobering quip, Irish News columnist Allison Morris remarks: "There's more chances of [DUP MLA] Jim Wells buying me a beer at next year's Belfast Pride" than Northern Ireland's politician changing their attitudes.

No pot of political gold at the end of that rainbow?

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