Northern Ireland

Paper review: Anger over marathon and bomb hoax

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

Final phone calls to a partner, a bomb hoax and controversy over a Sunday marathon make the front pages.

On the front page of The Belfast Telegraph, we hear about the distress caused to a man after finding missed calls weeks after his partner's death.

Ruth Maguire, 30, drowned on a hen weekend in Carlingford, County Louth in March.

Ms Maguire's sister Rachel tells the paper the family is still trying to cope with the pain of her death.

Image copyright Shauna McNeill/ Cooley Community Alert
Image caption The Newcastle woman was reported missing after she failed to return from her night out

She says that when Ruth's partner, Jim, went back to work, he discovered two missed calls to his work phone made on the night of her death.

She adds that, while the discovery was distressing: "In a way it's comforting for us to know that she was trying to get home to her family before she died."

'Dismissal of Christian values'

"Christians 'dismissed' by Sunday marathon": There's a row over running on a Sunday in The News Letter.

The paper reports that an evangelical Protestant lobby group has hit out at the decision to move the Belfast City Marathon to a Sunday.

The marathon, which is recent years has been on bank holiday Monday, is due to take place on 5 May.

Wallace Thompson, from the Caleb Foundation, described the move as a "dismissal of Christian values".

He said that some athletes would now be unable to take part in the race.

Image caption The marathon normally takes place on a Bank Holiday Monday, but this year it will be held on a Sunday morning

"There are quite a lot of Christians who run to raise money for charitable work or missionary work," he says.

"I know several who are no longer able to do that."

A spokesperson for Belfast City Marathon said that the event was "all-inclusive".

Wednesday's bomb hoax in Lurgan makes the front of the Irish News.

"Police dismiss CIRA command wire bomb as hoax" reads the headline. The paper says dissident republicans have admitted responsibility for a security alert that caused "widespread disruption" in County Armagh.

The so-called Continuity IRA claimed it left an improved explosive in a bin at the gates of the former St Michael Grammar School.

However, police said it was a hoax and criticised those responsible.

Dissident republicans were also blamed for a number of other alerts throughout Northern Ireland within 24 hours.

Elsewhere in the Belfast Telegraph, we hear that two children aged 11 and 13 were responsible for a fire in an east Belfast park that ruined play equipment.

Avoniel play park will be closed over the Easter holidays and for some time after the blaze destroyed the children's' park.

The PSNI said they had identified the children and spoken to their "furious" parents.

They said it was "only through good fortune" that no one was hurt.