Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Tragedy and extraordinary kindness

Impartial Reporter Image copyright Impartial Reporter
Ulster Gazette Image copyright Ulster Gazette
Ballymena Guardian Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
Newry Democrat Image copyright Newry Democrat
Coleraine Chronicle Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle

There is a wealth of good stories to be read in this week's weekly papers, from issues that affect local communities to tales of great kindness.

"Trust apologises to family after incident in mortuary," is the headline of the second story in this week's Impartial Reporter.

The 'incident' in question was that the wrong body was given to an undertaker.

It happened in recent months, the paper reports in the exclusive story.

The Western Trust has apologised to the family concerned.

Former journalist with the Impartial Reporter, Denzil McDaniel, writes a weekly column in the paper - 'How I see it'.

'Most important story'

This week he reflects on the "most important story" he was involved in during his long career, efforts to discover the truth about what happened to Lucy Crawford.

The toddler died in 2000, two days after being admitted to the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

Following the report from the hyponatraemia inquiry, which Lucy Crawford's parents had withdrawn from, Mr McDaniel writes that he has been in "reflective mood".

He was warned at the time that pursuing the story could cost him his job, he recalls.

His description of reporting on the story in the face of considerable opposition is a gripping account of a tragic event.

"Rest assured there are still many people who will hunt out the truth in the future," he concludes.

The gift of life

The Ulster Gazette's lead story is extraordinary: "Melvin's previous gift of life".

A homeless man has donated a kidney to a church pastor who took him in, the paper reports.

Mevlin Boyd had been living in a hostel in Armagh City when he met Pastor John Greenaway after calling in to a faith bookshop to buy a Bible.

Given a place to stay by Pastor Greenaway Melvin offered him a kidney after hearing that he was suffering from kidney failure, despite only having met him months before.

Mr Boyd told the paper that he did not feel like he had lost anything as he has gained a home, "all thanks to God answering his prayers".

The Ulster Gazette also has a page of analysis on proposed boundary changes to the Newry and Armagh parliamentary constituency.

Image caption The village of Broughshane has long attracted admirers

Meanwhile, it is a big week for Broughshane.

The County Antrim Village is in the final of the Channel 4 series UK Village of the Year programme, and that unsurprisingly is the front page splash in the Ballymena Guardian.

It is "a very exciting time in the village," the chair of the community association told the Guardian.

There is a cash prize of £10,000 available to the winner. The final will air on Channel 4 on Saturday.

Highlighting a very different aspect of life the paper reveals that there were more than 10,000 calls to the Samaritans in Ballymena in 2017.

Some 44 people act as volunteers at the branch.

Newry Democrat

"District's rates set to rise again," is the lead in the Newry Democrat.

Ratepayers across Newry, Mourne and Down will see a 3.38% rates increase in the next financial year, the paper reports.

The Democrat also reports on con men scamming people in County Down out of their money.

Image copyright Press Association / Dominic Lipinski
Image caption The PSNI are warning people never to let anyone take control of their computer

In the latest incident scammers claimed to be from British Telecom managing to steal £28,000 from their victim's bank account.

The PSNI is urging people to be extra careful online and to never allow anyone to take control of their computer.

"Nuclear community fund offer is a 'bribe'," is perhaps an unexpected headline in the Democrat.

The story is founded on an SDLP councillor's comments on a government fund which seeks to entice communities to accept an underground nuclear waste facility in their area.

It is pretty safe to say that Cllr Michael Carr will not be accepting such a facility in the Warrenpoint area.

Free parking

"Call to make Mid-Ulster area a free parking zone," is the splash in the Mid-Ulster Mail.

Campaigners opposed to the introduction of parking fees at council car parks in Mid-Ulster are calling for the council area to be declared "a free car parking zone".

The group, Campaign Against Car Park Charges, believes the matter is to be discussed at a council committee meeting on 13 February.

The Mail also has an interesting analysis of how proposed boundary changes could effect the Fermanagh and South Tyrone and Mid-Ulster parliamentary constituencies.

Local loyalty

Local papers tend to know their stuff and how to sell themselves and that certainly seems to be the case with the Coleraine Chronicle.

98-year-old Kathleen Callaghan is pictured in a hospital bed in Canada whilst reading, you guessed it, the Chronicle!

Kathleen was born in 1920 in the town before emigrating at the age of 10.

She remains very proud of her north-coast roots, the Chronicle assures us.

The lead story in the Chronicle concerns Causeway Coast and Glens Borough council considering bringing in a private firm to run a proposed new leisure centre in Coleraine.

"Leisure centres across the borough currently lose around £1.9m per annum, leaving ratepayers to cover the shortfall," the paper reports.

It is that shortfall which has led the council to consider outsourcing, the Chronicle understands.