NI newspaper review: GAA club's shock over asthma death

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AsthmaImage source, Getty Images

Drink driving statistics, an appeal over cystic fibrosis drugs and a plea for political goodwill over the Christmas season are among the stories making the headlines in Northern Ireland's newspapers today.

But it's the shock felt by a GAA club and County Down community following the death of a 17-year-old who suffered an asthma attack that's making the front page of the Irish News.

The paper reports that James Grant, a young gaelic footballer, took ill and died at his home in Atticall, near Kilkeel, on Thursday.

He was described by Atticall GAC as "a talented footballer with a promising career ahead of him".

'Eight drunk drivers caught every day'

The paper reported that he would be buried on the same day as another parishioner, Willie Murnion, a 61-year-old father of four who died of a heart attack.

"I have two funeral Masses on the one day. It is a very sad parish," said Father Sean Cahill.

Image source, Getty Images

The Belfast Telegraph's front page says that eight drink drivers are caught every day by the PSNI.

It reports that more than 9,000 people were detected in the last three years, with one being more than five times over the legal limit.

Peter Dolan, whose son, Enda, was killed by a drunk driver, told the newspaper that stricter sentences were needed to deter offenders.

Politicians should go 'extra mile'

Inside the paper, it reports that the brother of a woman seriously ill with cystic fibrosis has told of the "unparalleled generosity" shown in their bid to raise money for pioneering drugs.

Nicole Adams, 28, is in intensive care after a series of infections left her lungs seriously under capacity.

Her brother, Lee, said people have been working to raise the estimated £20,000 needed for a month's supply of triple combination therapy drug Trikafta.

On the front page of the News Letter, there's a plea for politicians to go the "extra mile" to get Stormont back.

The appeal comes from the leaders of Ireland's main churches, who have issued a joint statement urging politicians to "grasp this opportunity" when Stormont talks resume in the new year.

Image source, BBC Sport

"For the sake of the whole community, we urge all our political representatives to go that extra mile," the statement said.

Politics also features in the Irish News, where the newspaper's political correspondent John Manley writes that Sinn Féin finds itself "on the edge of an electoral crisis".

The party won seven seats in the recent Westminster election, but its vote fell heavily in many areas.

Manley writes that the party's role "in the continued dormancy" of Stormont's power-sharing government had damaged it and adds that if trends continue, the party could find itself in "serious trouble".

And in the Daily Mirror, Roy Walker - one of Northern Ireland's best known comedians - has been reflecting on his life beyond the stage, as he approaches his 80th birthday.

As part of a new BBC documentary, he tells of his childhood and the stigma directed at his mother after she gave birth to him at 17; his big break in comedy; and the death of his wife, Jean, in the 1980s.

The veteran entertainer says he has no intention of hanging up the microphone.

"I want to go on," he says. "Frank Carson worked till he was 87."