NI paper review: Toome road death dominates papers

By Ciaran McCauley

Image source, News Letter

The tragic death of a young woman on the roads near Toomebridge is the main story dominating headlines this Monday morning.

The Irish News, Belfast Telegraph and News Letter all lead with the news that the Police Ombudsman will be involved in the investigation into the death of Shannon McQuillan, 19.

She died after being struck by a van.

Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Owen McFerran who was also struck, is critically ill in hospital.

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
Shannon McQuillan died after being struck by a van on Saturday morning

The ambulance service confirmed that it had report that a young woman had fallen onto ice and was "unresponsive".

They said they treated Ms McQuillan and transferred her to an emergency vehicle, before the journey was "terminated" on the outskirts of Toome.

"We are grieving; Shannon was a bright student who had her whole life in front of her," said Paul McQuillan.

Elsewhere, leadership moves in Sinn Féin, and Mary-Lou McDonald's confirmation as party president elect, take up plenty of headlines.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Mary Lou McDonald was confirmed as the nominee for Sinn Féin president on Saturday

The size of that task is underlined in the newspaper's editorial, which acknowledges that her leadership could move "the party in a genuinely new direction" but that Gerry Adams' departure as leader "does not mean that unionists should now give in to Sinn Féin's demands".

Over in the Belfast Telegraph, Shona Murray writes that the new leader will need to use "big-picture thinking".

"She needs to bring unionists along in recognising the fact that staying close to the European Union is not a threat to unionism, but of considerable importance for the future of Northern Ireland."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Hundreds queued in Limerick despite the wet weather to pay respects to Dolores O'Riordan

Elsewhere, the papers report that police are seeking a taxi driver who may have vital information on the murder of Mark Ponisi in Belfast.

The Daily Mirror says police believe the driver may have crucial information into the death of Mr Ponisi, who was found dead in his home in east Belfast on Saturday morning.

The paper also reports of fans' tributes to Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan, after thousands gathered at a church in Limerick to remember the late singer.

Her body has been laid in repose, attracting thousands of fans who paid their respects.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a biography of the Queen's sister, who died in 2002, reveals that a plan to kill her was hatched after she was said to have made the remark during an official visit of the United States in 1979.

The author of the biography, Christopher Warwick, said that some in the IRA did not believe denials she had made the comment and that US law enforcement officials believed that the IRA planned to assassinate her.