Northern Ireland

Weekly paper review: The ultimate gift and a ripped bible

Newry Democrat Image copyright Newry Democrat
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Ballymena Guardian Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
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Fermanagh Herald Image copyright Fermanagh Herald
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front page of the Portadown Times Friday 21 December 2018 Image copyright Portadown Times
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Newry Reporter Image copyright Newry Reporter
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Londonderry Sentinel Image copyright Londonderry Sentinel
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A bible that was ripped during a robbery, a call for reduced rates and the ultimate Christmas gift feature in this week's papers.

In Newry, an uncle has donated a kidney to his niece who had multiple-organ failure.

Colm Jackson found out he was a match for Noelle Jackson after she contracted sepsis in 2017.

The 38-year-old was left in a coma for three weeks and suffered serious side effects due to infection.

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Image caption Noelle Jackson has thanked her uncle for giving her the 'ultimate Christmas gift'

Ms Jackson told the paper: "They had never actually come across somebody in my situation where it just killed my kidneys altogether.

"I'm so thankful to Colm and his family because it was a joint decision and his wife had to support him and look after him.

"I don't know how you would ever say thank you enough for something like that."

Bible ripped in robbery

In County Fermanagh, a church minister's bible was ripped up during a robbery, reports the Herald.

The Reverend Lorna Dreaning's car was one of five which was broken into in recent weeks.

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Image caption Rev Dreaning's bible was found ripped and lying in a ditch

The minister at Enniskillen Methodist Church found her bible and handbag lying in a ditch between Belcoo and Enniskillen.

She told the paper her car was broken into during the church service on Sunday.

"The churches should have somebody on the car parks because this seems to be where they are targeting at the minute," she added.

"It is concerning for those coming to church."

New president

A new president has been appointed at the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

The Londonderry Sentinel reports that Brian McGrath is the 76th to take over the role.

He told the paper it was "an honour to be elected".

"The next 12 months will bring unprecedented upheaval for businesses right across Northern Ireland and it is hugely important that they have a strong voice during these uncertain times," he added.

"Our geographical location on the doorstep to Europe is going to be critical for us, and this must be both promoted and harnessed in the coming months."

Costs 'too high'

Moving on to the Mid-Ulster Mail, shops have called for rates relief in Mid Ulster due to the amount of shoppers making purchases online rather than at the high street.

The district's main towns, Cookstown, Magherafelt and Dungannon, have been hit hard by falling footfall.

According to the newspaper, the local council is to write to the Permanent Secretary for Finance pressing for the move.

Independent Councillor Barry Monteith said the costs were "too high" in town centres in comparison to those on the outskirts.

"Town centres need a major injection of resources, finances and redevelopment," he said

"The council works hard to attract shoppers but we can't do it on our own."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More people are believed to be ditching the high street for online shopping

The Portadown Times front page reads: "Sadness at passing of respected Niall Irwin".

The 67-year-old, who was technical director of Irwin's Bakery, died on Sunday following a period of illness.

The newspaper describes him as "a highly respected business man in Portadown and globally".

According to the paper, hundreds attended his funeral.

Manufacturing NI's Stephen Kelly described Mr Irwin as having a "passion for ensuring our local manufacturing sector was valued, celebrated and supported".

"He understood the value of work and how that created strong families and communities," he added.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Mr Paisley was recently suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days for "serious misconduct"

BBC Spotlight's revelations that DUP MP Ian Paisley was given a complimentary holiday at a luxury Maldives resort months after advocating on behalf of its government makes the news in this week's Ballymena Guardian.

On their front page they say "MP back in spotlight". The controversy follows Mr Paisley recently being suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days for "serious misconduct" for failing to declare two family holidays to Sri Lanka in 2013.

BBC Spotlight obtained new evidence which suggested the visit was requested by the Maldivian government and facilitated by the resort owner, who had political links.

The programme examined whether the MP should have declared the trip in 2016.