Northern Ireland

Weekly newspaper headlines: Bono's tribute to Hume and Strabane slur

Down Recorder Image copyright Down Recorder
Larne Times Image copyright Larne Times
Strabane Chronicle Image copyright Strabane Chronicle
Lurgan Mail Image copyright Lurgan Mail
Impartial Reporter Image copyright Impartial Reporter
Derry Journal Image copyright Derry Journal

Birthday greetings from Bono, "slurs" on Strabane, deer poaching in Fermanagh and music festivals in Lurgan are among the stories featured in Northern Ireland's weekly papers.

"You simply couldn't get a nicer person" is this week's front page headline in the Down Recorder.

Nineteen-year-old Ryan Straney's words are in tribute to his close friend Matthew Davis, who died following a crash on the Lisburn Road near Saintfield. Matthew scored the winning goal for his school in a Gaelic football match on the day the crash happened.

Inside the paper, Ballynahinch mum Lindsay Ritchie credits Red Cross online first aid advice, after her quick actions saved her four-year-old son Logan who was choking on a grape.

Heart not made of stone

A family left heartbroken by burglars have "had their faith in humanity restored" by a kindly stonemason, the Larne Times says.

The £800 saved by cancer victim Margaret Martin to add her picture and name to a headstone was stolen during a break-in at her daughter's house earlier this month. But now Coleraine stonemason Tony Kneeland has offered to drive to Larne and do the work for free.

The paper also reports on a man from the town who insisted that he was wearing a balaclava when he crashed into a police car because he was banned from driving and did not want officers to recognise him.

Deer poachers

Police are investigating whether a gunshot was fired at the scene of a van on fire in County Fermanagh, the Impartial Reporter says.

Image caption The Impartial Reporter has a story about deer poaching in County Fermanagh

The paper says two men were seen running away from the fire on the Irvinestown Road, near Drumclay.

Meanwhile, the paper says that a man who owns 1,000 acres of shooting rights near Augher has hit out at the lack of prosecutions for people illegally shooting deer and other wildlife.

Barry McAlpine says he regularly hears gunshots during the night near his home - which is surrounded by dense woodland - as well as physical evidence of poaching.

'Vodka-swilling gamblers'

The Strabane Chronicle reports on the "shocking portrayal" of the town's residents by an internet company as "a bunch of skint, vodka-swilling gamblers".

The paper says the unflattering picture has been painted by CAMEO UK, which provides marketing information to marketing websites worldwide. The company also says Strabane people "are much less-inclined to read books than other consumers".

Image copyright Fire Service
Image caption The Strabane Chronicle tells the story of a horse rescue near Newtownstewart

The paper also tells of the rescue of a stricken horse trapped in a muddy ditch near Newtownstewart by firefighters.

The animal was sedated, before a sling was attached to it and it was lifted out with a tractor and front loader.

The Lurgan Mail says police were pelted with bottles "after drunken hooligans went on the rampage" in the north of the town.

It says police were called to the scene at a derelict factory site after residents complained of "a boom box being played at high decibels" and anti-social behaviour.

On a more positive note, it reports that the town could be getting a "bespoke music festival".

It says funding is being provided by the executive to give the town centre a facelift and the festival is part of the proposals.

Bono's birthday greetings

Finally, the Derry Journal features U2 legend Bono's artistic birthday greeting to former SDLP leader John Hume, who turned 80 this week.

The artwork was accompanied by a message from the band: "Happy 80th Birthday John Hume... The real Border is not the line on the map… The real Border is in the minds and hearts of people… the real task of politics is to change hearts and minds and not to redraw maps."

The paper also says a major programme of events will run across the area over the coming days to mark the sinking of the HMS Laurentic 100 years ago.

A total of 354 people perished when the Laurentic was destroyed by mines off the coast of Downings en route to Nova Scotia.