Northern Ireland

Weekly paper review: Lifejacket calls and cannabis oil in Coleraine

Newtownards Chronicle front page Image copyright Newtownards Chronicle
Coleraine Chronicle front page Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle
The Impartial Reporter Image copyright The Impartial Reporter
Ulster Herald front page Image copyright Ulster Herald
North Belfast News Image copyright North Belfast News
Ulster Gazette

Calls for mandatory lifejacket laws, same-sex wedding joy and a possible cannabis oil factory feature in this week's weekly papers.

First up, in Comber, County Down, two 11-year-old girls are being called heroes after rescuing an elderly lady who fell into a river last week.

Nendrum College pupils Leah Ward and Chelsea McQuade came to the aid of a pensioner who they noticed was struggling against the current in the Enler River, The Newtownards Chronicle reports.

One of the girls stayed with the distressed woman while the other ran to get help.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Kenny Andrews, 31, was from Bangor and the managing director of Damp Proofing NI

There's also the inquest of Bangor man Kenny Andrews, who died after coming off a jet ski in Lough Erne in County Fermanagh last year.

His friend Stephen Kennedy, who survived the incident, spoke at the inquest.

He urged anyone going into open water to "be safe, wear a lifejacket and wear a wetsuit".

The theme carries onto the front page of the Coleraine Chronicle, where there are calls for a change in the law on life jackets.

It follows two inquests of drowning deaths in two days.

Edelle McGlade was found to have drowned after falling into water at Portglenone Marina in County Antrim last year.

Coroner Patrick McGurgan says that in light of Mr Andrews' and Ms McGlade's deaths, he intends to write to the top civil servant at the Department for Communities to urge that the wearing of lifejackets in or around water becomes mandatory.

Is a cannabis oil company set for Coleraine?

The Coleraine Chronicle reports that the world's biggest producer of cannabis oil is considering a move to the County Londonderry town.

It said representatives from the company have visited a local business park.

Wedding belles

In County Fermanagh, there is joy for a same-sex couple who will be legally allowed to get married in their home county, as covered in The Impartial Reporter.

Kia Lewis and Mandy Fleming, from Enniskillen, got engaged in July and thought they would have to get married in the Republic of Ireland.

Image copyright Getty Images

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Northern Ireland on Tuesday, with the first weddings set to take place in February 2020.

"It means so very much to us as my granny has just celebrated her 90th birthday and isn't able to travel far, so she can have her dream come true of seeing me walking down the aisle," Miss Lewis said.

The newspaper leads with the "savage attack" on Quinn Industrial Holdings executive Kevin Lunney, as first reported by Irish national broadcaster RTÉ.

Image copyright QIH
Image caption Kevin Lunney is the chief operating officer at Quinn Industrial Holdings

Mr Lunney was taken from his home in County Fermanagh by a gang of four masked men, badly beaten and dumped across the border in County Cavan.

His brother, Tony, said he had been stripped down to his underwear when he was abducted and would have died had he not been found by a passer-by as he crawled along a rural road.

Warning

A coroner has warned that "deaths from drugs appear to be taking place on a daily basis", which makes the front page of the Ulster Herald.

Brendan Coyle, 23, from Omagh, County Tyrone, was found dead in bed by his girlfriend in September 2018. His family believed he had been drunk when he went to bed but a post-mortem examination found that he had drugs in his system.

Speaking at his inquest at Omagh Coroner's Court, coroner Patrick McGurgan said: "If families like the Coyles who tell their stories at an inquest save even one life, then their courage in highlighting the impact of drugs will have been worthwhile."

The newspaper also reports that the A5 dual-carriageway linking Strabane to Aughnacloy is not scheduled for completion until 2028, 16 years later than initially envisaged.

Image caption The A5 dual carriageway scheme would link Dublin to the north west of Northern Ireland

Details of the £850m scheme were released in 2009.

West Tyrone SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said he was "deeply dissatisfied" with the continuing delays.

'I just heard someone yelling'

In north Belfast, County Antrim, a pensioner was left "shocked and dazed" after a brick was thrown through her bedroom window in Ardoyne during an arson attack on an adjacent flat.

It leads the North Belfast News, with the 63-year-old telling the newspaper: "Glass shattered all over my duvet and I just heard someone yelling for me to get out."

Police appealed for any information.

Image copyright Getty Images

The swimming pool at Grove Wellbeing Centre, on the York Road, is expected to be closed until 4 November for essential maintenance.

The North Belfast News reports that members will be able to swim at Shankill, Falls and Ballysillan leisure centres.

Redevelopment

Last but not least, in County Armagh, The Ulster Gazette's front page carries a "unique opportunity" for Markethill.

Multi-million pound plans to redevelop the town's mart and police station have been submitted.

The livestock mart has been vacant for a number of years and the old police station is being used as a car park.

Tributes are also paid in the newspaper to Jane (Jean) Lemmon, who was widowed by the Kingsmills attack, in which 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA in 1976.

Image caption Ten workmen were killed in the 1976 atrocity

Mrs Lemmon, who was in her 90s, passed away peacefully at her Bessbrook home on Saturday.

The Ulster Gazette said she died "without seeing justice".