Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Health warning and UVF intimidation

Image caption Royal College of Nursing NI deputy director Garrett Martin says most nurses are working unpaid hours

Health hits the headlines in Friday's newspapers, with the Belfast Telegraph leading with a warning from former Health and Social Care Board chief John Compton.

As health trusts prepare to implement £70m of cuts in Northern Ireland, Mr Compton claims people are dying while waiting for a hospice bed.

He says the planned cuts will create "undue pressure on end of life care services, with patients and their loved ones feeling the force of the impact".

Meanwhile on the Daily Mirror front page, Royal College of Nursing NI deputy director Garrett Martin says years of cost-cutting is putting patients at risk.

He says the "majority of nurses are working unpaid hours" in a bid to provide the best care for patients.

Mr Martin adds that many have reported concerns there are "not enough staff to do their jobs properly and are reporting errors, near misses or incidents involving patient safety".

UVF flags removed

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton's declaration that loyalist paramilitaries were behind the intimidation of Catholic families in an east Belfast shared housing area gets the front page treatment in the News Letter.

Image caption George Hamilton's statement on Cantrell Close features in a number of the newspapers

Mr Hamilton said the Ulster Volunteer Force was so "chaotic" the police were not yet sure whether the threats were supported by the group's leadership.

The police warned a number of families in Cantrell Close they were under threat last week. Four Catholic families left their homes in the area off the Ravenhill Road.

The Mirror reports that a number of UVF 1912 flags have now been removed from Cantrell Close, as a "goodwill gesture".

Sinn Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir welcomed the removal of the flags, but said there needed to be the removal of the threat to the families.

He also condemned a threat "made against a number of loyalist community workers".

Guildford Four police criminality?

Lawyers for the family of the late Gerry Conlon have called for a new investigation into the police and prosecutors involved in the original Guildford Four case, the Irish News reports.

KRW Law, representing Mr Conlon's sister Ann McKernan and a woman who was injured in the explosion at the Horse and Groom pub, have written to attorney general Jeremy Wright.

They claim that after examining archive material he could direct a new investigation into "alleged criminality on the part of the original Surrey Police investigation and the prosecutors which with whom they worked in securing the wrongful conviction of Mr Conlon and others".

The Belfast Telegraph also picks up on the story, and reports that fresh material was uncovered by author Richard O'Rawe when he visited the national archives at Kew in Richmond last year.

Cheese attack

Police in south Belfast are hoping to sniff out the culprits responsible for smearing cheese on the front door of a couple's home in the Holylands area, the Irish News also reports.

The incident on Rugby Road on Thursday followed a complaint by residents about students making excessive noise.

A neighbour said the couple, who have a baby daughter, were "very upset" their home had been targeted.

Northern Ireland may have lost to Germany in Thursday night's World Cup qualifier.

But two fans of both teams who bonded over a bottle of Bushmills whiskey at the Euro 2016 finals in Paris had a happy reunion in Belfast.

The News Letter reports that Germany supporter Werner Brandt posted a social media appeal to find the member of the Green and White Army with whom he hit it off.

Sixty-year-old Neil Fenn from County Antrim was happy to catch up with Werner in the Empire pub in Belfast, and the meeting appeared to leave him feeling revitalised.

"Werner will be on the German side and I will be on top of the dug outs," he said.

"I will be shouting down all my football knowledge to Michael O'Neill."