Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Emotional reunion and family car escape

Coleraine Chronicle Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle
Fermanagh Herald Image copyright Fermanagh Herald
Mourne Observer Image copyright Mourne Observer
Ballymena Times Image copyright Ballymena Times
Tyrone Courier Image copyright Tyrone Courier
Lurgan Mail Image copyright Lurgan Mail

Violence at a funeral, traffic congestion and a dog rescued from slaughter all feature in this week's local papers.

An emotional return to Old Trafford for Manchester United legend Harry Gregg features in the Coleraine Chronicle.

The former goalkeeper was a guest of the Premier League club on the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

His son John accompanied him on the trip and said his dad refused the offer of a blanket "in no uncertain terms".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Jose Mourinho hit it off with Harry Gregg

Harry Gregg also told manager Jose Mourinho that Manchester United would win this season's Champion's League.

"Jose Mourinho and dad hit it off - dad was sat behind him," John said.

"Mourinho was telling dad that his dad too was a goalkeeper.

"Dad said to him: 'You'll win the European Cup' - and Mourinho said: 'No pressure then!'"

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Coleraine is NI's third most congested city

The paper also reports that Coleraine is the third most congested town in Northern Ireland, behind only Belfast and Londonderry.

A study, by analytics firm INRIX, estimates the total cost of congestion to Coleraine was £38m in 2017.

Violence at funeral

The Lurgan Mail leads with the violence that occurred at a graveyard in the town after the funeral of a member of the travelling community on Monday.

A pensioner who was at the burial said it was "bedlam".

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption There were disturbances during a funeral at a graveyard in Lurgan

"They showed awful disrespect to the poor woman who died, as well as disrespecting everyone in that graveyard," he said.

"It's a sin how they behaved - a shame and a disgrace."

Image caption Bottles of buckfast have been smashed close to a primary school

The paper also reports on the problems caused by thugs "smashing Buckfast bottles" at a primary school in Craigavon, leaving children without a safe area to play.

It says there are claims that some of those involved have also behaved in a threatening way to children walking to and from Tullyally Primary School.

Man found in car in field

The Fermanagh Herald reports that a man found dead in his car in a field near Enniskillen may not have been discovered for up to five days after he crashed.

Gary Douglas, 44, was found at the bottom of an embankment off the busy A4 Belfast Road near the Killyhevlin Hotel.

He was last seen on Thursday 1 February, but was not found until the following Tuesday.

The paper says the field where he was found usually contains livestock, but they had been moved due to the time of year.

'Icy' relations

Elsewhere in the paper is the story of Lisnaskea residents who took matters into their own hands - literally - after their neighbourhood's salt box was moved by Transport NI into the grounds of a primary school.

It meant, that at night and early morning, the box was behind locked gates when residents of Lakeview needed it to grit an icy steep hill leading to their homes.

As a result, two women in the area waited until it was half empty and lifted it out of the school grounds.

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has now agreed that it should "be positioned on the public road".

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Six men were shot dead as they watched a football match in the Loughinisland massacre in 1994

Film-screening controversy

Over in County Down, the Mourne Observer says that DUP MLA Jim Wells has objected to a documentary about the murder of six men in Loughinisland being screened in council-owned premises in Ballynahinch.

Mr Wells said the film No Stone Unturned is "very controversial" and the subject of legal proceedings.

The paper reports that he has written to Newry Mourne and Down Council's solicitor to ask whether the documentary should be shown in one of the council's community buildings - Ballynahinch Market House.

Also in the paper, Castlewellan woman Shakira Murray talks of her bond with pet Freddie, who was one of 1,200 dogs rescued from crammed cages on board a lorry bound for China's Yulin meat festival.

About 10,000 dogs and cats are killed at the festival each year.

Five years after being rescued, Freddie and five other dogs were brought from China to Northern Ireland via France.

Now, Shakira says it feels like Freddie has always been a part of her life.

Image caption Broughshane has been named Channel 4's Village of the Year

Village of the year

The Ballymena Times celebrates the victory of Broughshane in Channel 4's Village of the year competition.

The village saw off the challenge of three English rivals to land the £10,000 prize last weekend.

Lexie Scott, chairman of Broughshane's community association, tells the paper that, while the village's appearance played a significant role in the victory, "it's the people who put the extra in Broughshane to make the ordinary things extraordinary".

The paper also covers a court case in which a Ballymena butcher was convicted of assaulting a vegan protester.

When convicting the butcher, the judge said that while everyone had the right to protest, he believed it was held not just to get their message across, but to "get a reaction".

Burning car

A family had a lucky escape in Dungannon after their car burst into flames, reports the Tyrone Courier.

Image copyright Tyrone Courier
Image caption Denis Meehan ad his family were on a shopping trip when their Peugeot caught fire

Denis Meehan, 54, and his wife and two young sons had been in Dungannon on a shopping trip when their Peugeot caught fire on Granville Road.

He told the paper: "I started to slow down when approaching the roundabout and saw smoke started to rise form the bonnet.

"I immediately braked and the car burst into flames."

He said they all got out of the car, and while the children were shaken - he is very thankful his family were all safe.

Image caption Colin Watt said he was "paying the price" of mistakes made by others

In other news, the paper reports that a farmer has criticised the "false promises" he received from the Stormont Executive over the renewable heating incentive (RHI) scheme.

Colin Watt installed the boilers at his Augher farm three-and-a-half year ago using a bank loan of £380,000.

He said it made economic sense to take the loan based on the figures quoted in the original RHI scheme.

But, with a new pricing model in place, Mr Watt's doubts he will be able to meet his financial commitment.

"The whole thing is fast becoming a never ending nightmare, both financially and emotionally," he said.