Northern Ireland

Weekly paper review: Pothole problems and a bite

Antrim guardian Image copyright Antrim guardian
Mourne observer Image copyright Mourne observer

Pothole problems and a deadly bite on a police officer all feature in this week's local papers.

The 20th anniversary of the "cruel and cowardly killing of an innocent man" features on the front of the Antrim Guardian.

Noel Martin, 51, was beaten to death at his home in Antrim's Springfarm estate in May 1999, before his body was set on fire.

The paper says that in the days before his murder, Mr Martin was "terrorised by anti-social elements" in the estate.

He also had a significant sum of money stolen from him after being forcibly drugged by strangers who called to his flat.

Mr Martin's killing was one of three in the estate within a year.

The paper also pays tribute to a group of volunteers who offer a welcome, directions and advice to visitors at Antrim Area Hospital.

The League of Friends has been helping out at the hospital for 25 years.

'Growth of my country'

A Kilkeel-born soldier who won the American military's highest honour is featured in the Mourne Observer.

A blue plaque honouring Col Joseph Henry Thompson was unveiled in Kilkeel by American Consul-General Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau.

Col Thompson, who emigrated to the US in 1889, was awarded the Medal of Honour in 1918 for his bravery during a World War One battle at Apremont in the Ardennes, when the then 47 year old was wounded four times.

He later became a state senator and was once considered a possible presidential candidate for the US Republican Party.

Ms Kennedy Trudeau paid tribute to "the contribution that the people of Northern Ireland have made to the growth of my country".

She added: "Col Thompson is a perfect example."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Great Wall of China features in this week's papers

Two other Kilkeel men feature in the paper - Damien Cunningham and William Brown - who have just returned from running along the Great Wall of China.

Damien completed the full marathon - his 40th - while William ran the half marathon on what is known as one of the world's most challenging courses.

'Horror video'

The Lurgan Mail reports on what it calls a "horror video" showing a vicious attack on a County Armagh schoolboy which is being investigated by police.

The paper says the video, which has been widely shared on social media, shows a 12-year-old pupil from the town's St Ronan's College lying on grass while at least one other pupil repeatedly hits him on the body and head.

The paper says the boy was also kicked a number of times.

Police said they were "aware of a video posted on social media" and the investigation was ongoing.

The principal of the school, Michelle Corkey, told the paper the incident was witnessed by staff who "immediately intervened to break up the dispute".

Mural attacks

The paper also reports on a spate of attacks on murals, memorials and banners in Lurgan.

In the the first incident, a banner erected in High Street in support of Bloody Sunday 'Soldier F' was removed and burned.

Since then, murals depicting IRA members killed during the Troubles have had white paint thrown over them, as have an Easter Rising memorial in Lurgantarry and republican memorials in Kilwilkie estate.

Local politicians have condemned the attacks and appealed for calm.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Fermanagh Herald says that "a staggering 2,300 road 'defects'" have been reported in the county since the start of the year

Potholes have become an increasing problem across Northern Ireland, but County Fermanagh seems to be particularly badly affected.

The Fermanagh Herald says that "a staggering 2,300 road 'defects'" have been reported in the county since the start of the year, but that less than half - 951 - have been repaired.

It says the Department for Infrastructure confirmed the figures to the Herald after a local councillor said people of the county would take to the streets if nothing was done to address the growing problem.

"This is totally unacceptable and the people of the area deserve a lot better," Cllr Sheamus Greene said.

In response, a department spokesperson said that it had "a statutory duty to maintain public roads to a reasonable standard" and part of this involved ensuring that heavily-trafficked roads are inspected more often.

Illegal dog breeding

The paper also reports that a Letterbreen man has been fined for running an illegal dog breeding establishment at which scores of "feral" dogs and puppies were found.

Keith Lindsay, of Oakfield Road, was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs.

An enforcement officer told a court that the conditions the dogs were living in were severely below standard - with pens fouled and wet bedding - and the animals were highly agitated and feral.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption A picture of the bite was shown on the PSNI's Facebook page

And finally, the Mid Ulster mail reports that a police officer who was allegedly bitten by a drunk woman in Magherafelt is awaiting blood results.

A post on the PSNI's Facebook claims that the woman bit the man through his coat during an incident on Rainey Street.

The post claims that the woman injured three officers, with one being hospitalised after he was "severely bitten".

The paper reports that the woman is due to appear in court charged with a range of offences.