Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Nursing 'crisis' and hair of the dog

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror

The "chronic shortage" of nurses in Northern Ireland is making headlines in all of Monday's papers.

The News Letter and others report on a plan to recruit more than 600 overseas nurses, mainly from the Philippines, to fill empty posts in local hospitals.

The Mirror claims the sector is "in crisis" with 1,500 nursing jobs vacant due to problems recruiting new staff.

It puts the difficulty down to a lack of qualified candidates and "concerns over Brexit".

Double tragedy

The Belfast Telegraph leads with the sudden deaths of a 31-year-old man and 42-year-old woman in the Shankill area of Belfast at the weekend.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Two bodies were found at a property in Klondyke Street on Saturday night

It says the community is in shock after their bodies were discovered at a home in Klondyke Street on Saturday night.

The paper quotes a local pastor claiming that drug dealers have "blood on their hands".

Police have not confirmed any link to drugs at this stage, saying only that the deaths are not being treated as suspicious and they are awaiting the results of post-mortem examinations.

The Irish News reports on three separate confrontations by "vigilante" groups over the weekend.

'Accusations'

It leads with the case of All-Ireland champion boxer, Conor Wallace, who once trained with Conor McGregor.

The paper quotes Mr Wallace saying he was lured to a hotel in his native city of Newry by a vigilante group who made "all kind of accusations" against him.

The boxer said he was not arrested but was escorted from the scene by police "for my own safety".

On its inside pages, The Irish News says two men were arrested in separate and unrelated cases in County Down after they were targeted by so-called paedophile hunter groups.

A 19-year-old man was reportedly detained after a "citizen's arrest" in a fast food outlet in Carryduff while a 23-year-old man was arrested by police in Banbridge.

'Stashing the cash'

The Belfast Telegraph has been totting up bank closures after a raft of branches disappeared from our streets over the past 12 months.

It reports that the "big four" banks shut almost one in four of their branches in Northern Ireland throughout 2017.

For some of us, the move might mean a longer queue for a cashier, but not for multi-millionaire actor Liam Neeson.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Liam Neeson told the Big Issue he has kept his money under his bed since 2009

The Ballymena man claims to keep his money under his bed, according to the Mirror which estimates Neeson has earned up to £55m from his film career.

The paper says he made the "surprise admission" that he stashes cash under his mattress in a recent interview with the Big Issue magazine.

'Star Trek spaceship'

Staying in Ballymena, the County Antrim town could be about to boldy go where no other town has gone before with its new bandstand.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a "historic" bandstand in the town centre is being dismantled to make way for one that looks like a Star Trek spaceship.

The "angular modernist design" has been likened to a Klingon Bird of Prey ship according to the paper, which says the plan led to an "avalanche of criticism" on Facebook.

Image copyright Mid and East Antrim Council
Image caption An artist's impression of the proposed bandstand drew spaceship comparisons

A highly unusual design idea also features prominently in The Irish News - a cardigan made from dog hair.

While many pet owners might spend their lives trying to keep the dog hair off their clothes, Strabane resident Tony Jenkins wears his pet with pride.

Mr Jenkins told the paper that the family dog - a Samoyed Husky called Harry - died three years ago but he had kept 3kg of his hair.

He paid for the discarded hair to be spun into wool, which was then knitted into an Aran-style cardigan.

Mr Jenkins still misses his beloved pet and says: "There was a special bond and I can feel close to him this way."