NI weekly papers: Sham wedding, knicker thief, best cow

Published
image source, Tyrone Courier
image source, Impartial Reporter
image source, Portadown Times
image source, Mourne Observer
image source, Andersonstown News
image source, Coleraine Times

A pretend wedding, a very cheeky burglary and a really great cow are among the stories covered in Northern Ireland's weekly papers.

A heavily-tattooed driver - who claimed he could not give a blood sample due to his fear of needles - makes the front page of this week's Coleraine Times.

The Coleraine man pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and other motoring offences after he caused a crash near the Causeway Hospital in June.

It was alleged that despite having several tattoos, he refused to provide a blood specimen saying the last time he gave blood he had been left with a bruise.

On its inside pages, the paper carries a special report on teenage involvement in Northern Ireland's "massive wave of cyber crime".

The head of the PSNI's Cyber Crime Centre says the majority of offences detected by his officers have been carried out by 14-17 year olds.

image source, Getty Images
image captionIn 70 out of 75 recent PSNI cyber crime investigations, the suspect was a young teenager

DCI Dougie Grant claimed the bulk of hacking is carried out by young people whose parents believe they are playing computer games in their bedrooms.

He said that over a six-week period, the PSNI team visited 75 addresses and in 70 of the cases the suspect turned out to be a young person.

County Fermanagh's "stairway to heaven" has unleashed hell on the surrounding landscape, in this week's Impartial Reporter.

Cuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk - a wooden walkway designed to protect an environmentally important bog - has become a favourite attraction for daytrips.

image captionCuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk has been nick-named the stairway to heaven

But a local farmer complains to the paper that visitors have "done more damage to the area in the last 12 months than farmers have for the past 100 years".

He says day-tripping drivers are "ruining the grass verges, they are damaging the road, they are throwing out their rubbish and cups of tea on the ground".

Holy cow!

Inside, the paper milks it by dedicating 11 pages to the Fermanagh County Show, where it seems some cows are just better than udders.

"There are good cows and there are great cows. This is a great cow," declared the judge of show's All-Ireland Dairy Cow contest.

image source, Priestland Farm
image captionThe winning cow produces an impressive 60 litres of milk a day

The top prize was awarded to 'Priestland5235 PS James Rose EX95', who was by all accounts, outstanding in her field.

The "spring of rib", milk-pumping bovine produces an impressive 60 litres a day.

Despite her name, there was no divine intervention in the result - the magnificent beast is called after her home, Priestland Farm, on the north coast.

There is great excitement in County Tyrone as plans are unveiled for new shopping centre in Dungannon.

The Tyrone Courier leads with a photo of the "long vacant" site on Ann Street on the edge of the town centre.

The paper understands that Marks and Spencer has been earmarked as the anchor tenant of an 11-unit complex.

It says the possibility of a future hotel development at the site is also under consideration.

In other property news, the Courier reports that a County Kildare estate, part-owned by a Dungannon family, is being put on the market for £53m.

image captionCarton House and its grounds are regularly used as a training site for the Irish rugby team

The Mallaghan family bought the dilapidated Irish aristocratic mansion, Carton House, in the 1970s and spent millions transforming it into a luxurious hotel and golf course.

Conor Mallaghan tells the paper his family is "extremely proud" of the restoration but said it was "now time to pass its stewardship to a new owner".

A sham wedding with a difference features in this week's edition of the Andersonstown News.

"My Big Fat Gael Weddin' saw two men "get married" in west Belfast to highlight the "solidarity" between the campaigns for same-sex marriage and an Irish language act.

Conall Mac Corraidh and Chris Mac Phaidín got hitched on the steps of the Cultúrlann - a former church turned Irish language arts centre on the Falls Road.

image source, Love Equality NI
image captionChris and Conall's "wedding ceremony" was performed in Irish

Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Northern Ireland, and the issue, along with calls for an the Irish language act, have caused irreconcilable differences at Stormont.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's ceremony, Mr Mac Corraidh told the paper: "It will be your standard, run-of-the-mill wedding with all the frills, suits, music, bridesmaids, rings, but I have to stress that it's a fake wedding."

The Andersonstown News also says that Irish language classes are becoming very popular in one of Northern Ireland's "most unionist towns".

The classes started when west Belfast priest, Fr Martin Magill, was transferred to a rural parish in Ballyclare, County Antrim.

"One of the things that surprised me was that, when the class got up and running, Catholics would have been in the minority of the people attending," the priest tells the paper.

"There's a greater number of people from other denominations and no denominations."

image captionConor McMullan met the crew who airlifted him to hospital

The father of an 11-year-old boy, who was seriously injured in an accident on their family farm, says he has no doubt Northern Ireland's new air ambulance saved his life.

The Mourne Observer says Conor McMullan sustained a fractured skull after he was crushed against a wall by a tractor on the farm near Castlewellan, County Down.

He became the first patient in Northern Ireland to benefit from the helicopter service, even before its official launch this week.

The Observer reports that the boy was airlifted to a Belfast hospital within eight minutes - a journey which would have taken at least 45 minutes by road.

The paper also carries photographs of flash flooding in Downpatrick, which has cost town centre businesses thousands of pounds' worth of damage.

image source, Your Just Desserts
image captionA cafe worker filmed the Scotch St flood

Shops along Scotch Street, Church Street and Market Street bore the brunt of flooding after "torrential downpours" on Monday afternoon.

A cafe worker tells the paper she saw a "river running down the street", while the owner of a carpet shop says it is the 14th time his business has been flooded.

In County Armagh, a family's nine-year battle over their young son's grave makes the front page of the Portadown Times.

Jamie Stevenson was 15 when he died. He is buried in what the council describes as a "lawn only" section of Kernan Cemetery.

His parents want a grave "surround" and personal tributes left on his burial plot - but council staff want to remove all such items from lawn only graves.

"There are people who want grass because it suits them for the council to cut it," his mother tells the paper.

"But we maintain our son's grave - the council doesn't need to do it."

image source, Google Maps
image captionThe graveyard is on Kernan Hill Road in Portadown

In the paper's court coverage, an alleged knicker thief is accused of burgling the same house on three different dates.

The 28-year-old man is to stand trial for stealing a number of unusual items from the house in Portadown on three separate days in March.

The Portadown Times reports that on the third occasion, he is alleged to have stolen "a pair of ladies underwear and strawberries".