Northern Ireland

Paper review: Visa row and Van the man

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

"This is someone's home". The stark image on the front of the Irish News is of a phone box in south Belfast full of sleeping bags.

The paper says that homeless people are moving away from the city centre and seeking shelter on the "affluent" upper Ormeau Road.

One of the city's few remaining working telephone boxes has now become a storage space for some rough sleepers.

South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna said the reasons are "complex" and a "comprehensive model of support" is needed for vulnerable groups.

Also on the front page, the paper reports that a campaign to recruit overseas nurses to the NHS has been branded a "failure" after only 12 jobs were filled, at a cost of £500,000.

The paper says it has learnt that a string of international recruitment trips took place between May and June this year in a bid to plug 1,500 unfilled nursing posts.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A £500,000 campaign to recruit nurses has been branded a failure after only 12 jobs were filled

Royal College of Nursing chief Janice Smyth has told the paper that the drive "was not the solution" to severe staff shortages which had come about as a "result of cost-saving measures".

The Department of Health said it is on course to meet the target of employing 622 new nurses by March 2020.


There's a visa row on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.

The paper reports that a Belfast man's wedding plans have been thrown into "chaos" after his Japanese fiancée was refused a visa to travel to Northern Ireland.

Ciaran Doole is due to marry Makiko Takeoka in 12 days, however, the couple claim that she has been refused because Mr Doole holds an Irish passport.

Mr Doole told the paper he and his partner are "devastated".

His legal team will lodge an application for leave to apply for judicial review. The paper reports they intend to argue that the government's decision is in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Van Morrison branded his his famous knee kick as 'embarrassing'

In other news, legendary crooner Van Morrison has been the victim of stalking.

The paper quotes a Radio 2 interview with Mr Morrison by former Manfred Mann front man Paul Jones.

Mr Jones, who sang on one of the tracks of Morrison's new album, put it to him that he was "antagonistic to fame".

However the Moondance singer said that wasn't the case, and said he had been "stalked in various forms".

On a lighter note, the singer branded his famous knee kick as "embarrassing".

"I look at it now and wonder: 'My God why did I do that?'" he said.

A parent's "worst nightmare" leads the News Letter.

The paper reports on the tragic death of a 23-year-old in a road traffic accident in County Fermanagh.

It says Natasha Carruthers died in a single-vehicle collision Derrylin at the weekend. Rev Canon Ian Ellis says her family are "stunned and in shock".

The Belfast Telegraph also reports on the tragedy and says Ms Carruthers was the mother of a one-year-old daughter.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Despite a 1-0 defeat to Norway, Northern Ireland has secured a place in the play-offs for Russia 2018

There are some happy looking Vikings in GAWA get-up on the front of the paper.

The reason for the smiles? Despite a 1-0 defeat to Norway, Northern Ireland's place in the play-offs for Russia 2018 was confirmed by Scotland's draw in Slovenia prior to Sunday night's kick-off in Oslo.

The Irish News tells a tale of how a superstar magician came to Belfast for one of his hardest performances.

On one occasion Harry Houdini was encased in a timber chest used by Harland and Wolff and lowered into Donegal Quay. He then had to escape the box.

The escape artist said it was one of the hardest tricks he ever undertook.

The paper reports that details about Houdini's connections to Belfast have been brought to the fore by Irish magician Paul Gleeson, who uses the stage name Rua.

He said he found out about Houdini's trips to Ireland during a visit to New York.