Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Young woman's plea from beyond grave

grey line
News Letter Image copyright Nuala Mccann
grey line
Mirror Image copyright Nuala Mccann
grey line

A young woman's letter "from beyond the grave" is the front-page lead in the Belfast Telegraph.

Rachel McAlpine, 26, from Antrim died from a debilitating illness on 5 November.

She left a letter to go the newspaper after her death. In it, she accuses the Northern Trust of letting her down.

She claims they outsourced her care to a private company which, she said, failed to fully appreciate the level of treatment she needed.

Her fight to have 24-hour care provided by the trust itself had "pushed me {her} to an early grave", she said.

In response, the trust said it strived to deliver the highest level of care and the private company, Trackars Healthcare, praised Rachel's "courage and grit".

It said that Trackars was dedicated to the "highest quality standards".

Image copyright PA
Image caption A woman on a mission: Theresa May is visiting Northern Ireland

The prime minister's visit to Northern Ireland is the front-page lead in the News Letter.

"May flies in to sell Brexit deal," reads the headline over a close-up head shot of Theresa May in argumentative mode.

Reporter Stephen Gamble calls her "beleaguered" and says she is in town to sell her "much maligned Brexit deal to politicians and the wider public".

The paper reports that she will take part in a round-table discussion at Queen's University, Belfast, and will meet representatives of the Northern Ireland's five main parties.

The News Letter reports that actor Jamie Dornan - of The Fall and Fifty Shades of Grey fame - "refused to pick sides growing up in the shadow of the Troubles in Northern Ireland".

Image caption Jamie Dornan acted alongside Gillian Anderson in serial killer drama The Fall

"I'm an atheist and I always was growing up and I have never felt that I have any loyalty to either side or a lot of what was driving the situation," he tells the paper.

"I was very lucky. I went to a school where there was a healthy mix of Catholic and Protestant, I could relate to both sides."

The Mirror's front-page headline reads: "Mayday Mission". It says Theresa May is flying into Northern Ireland "on a mission to save her Brexit deal".

The paper says she will be meeting the DUP and Sinn Féin as part of her "frantic campaign to sell the withdrawal agreement all over the UK".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Northern Ireland's accident and emergency service is in 'a critical condition'

The Mirror also takes the pulse of Northern Ireland's accident and emergency service and declares that it is "in a critical condition".

A "radical overhaul" is needed, the paper reports. It quotes Department of Health permanent secretary Richard Pengelly who says that patients are experiencing "unacceptable waits" and staff are "increasingly stretched".

"We need to fundamentally change the way we do things. That's why we have announced this review which will be clinically led," says Mr Pengelly.

The Irish News features a front-page photograph of the skeletal remains of gutted Primark building in Belfast city centre.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The fire at Bank Buildings in September burned for three days

The headline writer indulges in a little word play: "Tunnel vision for city centre thoroughfare," the paper announces.

The paper reports that a specially constructed "tunnel" will allow shoppers back on Belfast city centre's main thoroughfare next week.

It says the bespoke walkway will be protected by shipping containers as "ballast in case the Primark building falls".

The Irish News also quotes Joe O'Connor who is overseeing the restoration effort who admitted: "basically the building is hanging in the breeze".

The paper also tells the story of a 19-year-old woman who suffered two strokes a year ago.

Rebecca Morrow from Carrickfergus says her experience has inspired her to embrace her passion for art.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A picture of a brain scan after stroke inspired Rebecca in her art work

Last week in London she was presented with Stroke Association's Life After Stroke Creative Art award.

"At my former school, my art teacher said that my stroke was something unique that I could explore so I used a copy of my brain scan in my A level art piece," she tells the Irish News.

"Through art, I can explore how I am more than my stroke."

Finally, the Belfast Telegraph features an interview with Pat Gillespie from Strabane, who is about to celebrate his 102nd birthday.

Image caption Pat Gillespie does not believe in rocking chairs and slippers

Reporter Leona O'Neill says that last year he was the target of a "terrifying raid" on his home where three masked men held him in his chair and ransacked the house.

But he has not let it ruin his life.

The inventor who once made a working car out of a bath is out to celebrate.

"I feel like a million dollars," he tells the Telegraph.

"I don't believe in rocking chairs and sitting with carpet slippers on. I haven't got to that stage yet. I honestly feel in my 30s."