Northern Ireland

NI paper review: CCTV reduction and dog protest

front page of the Fermanagh Herald Wednesday 7 March 2018 Image copyright Fermanagh Herald
front page Ulster Star Friday 9 March 2018 Image copyright Ulster Star
front page Mid-Ulster Mail Thursday 8 March 2018 Image copyright Mid-Ulster Mail
front page Lurgan Mail Thursday 8 March 2018 Image copyright Lurgan Mail

A murder charge over a house fire in Derrylin, cutting the number of CCTV cameras and a dog protest all feature in the local papers this week.

The front page of the Londonderry Sentinel reads: "Sectarianism caused exodus."

The DUP has hit out against a report about the migration of protestants from the West Bank of the Foyle in the 1970s.

The report was published last Friday by the Pat Finucane Centre.

The findings suggest that the intimidation of protestants was a main, but not the only, reason behind the movement of people.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell rebuked the findings and claimed the "overwhelming cause" was "intimidation and violence".

"They did not 'migrate' and 99% of them never returned," he added.

Dr Helene McLaughlin and Dr Ulf Hansson co-wrote the report, and expressed hope that looking at the past could "reshape the city".

The secretary of state's visit to Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday also makes the front page of the Sentinel.

After meeting with patients and health workers, Karen Bradley said: "In this hospital you hear about the cross-border working in the NHS which is a benefit to the people in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

"We don't want to lose that."

Understood charges

A 27-year-old man who appeared in court accused of murdering a family in a house fire in Derrylin makes the front page of the Fermanagh Herald.

Daniel Sebastian Allen, of Molly Road in Derrylin, is accused of four counts of murder.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Daniel Allen was remanded in custody to reappear by video link on 26 March

He is also charged with arson with intent to endanger life, as well as criminal damage.

Those who died have been named locally as Crystal Gossett, her 16-year-old son, Edward and 19-year-old daughter, Diane.

A young child, believed to be 18 months old, also died in the fire.

The child's name is not yet known.

Image copyright Mal McCann
Image caption Firefighters at the scene of the blaze

The court heard that Daniel Allen had been detained in hospital under police guard after the fire.

When asked if he understood the charges, Mr Allen nodded and replied: "Yes."

Image copyright Getty Images

A total of 67 dogs were put down by Fermanagh and Omagh district council between April and December 2016, reports the Herald.

A further 177 were passed to animal shelters as the dogs had either been seized or given up by their owners.

In the same nine months, about 4,700 dog licences were issued by the council - the lowest across all council areas.

Linen comes to life

Elsewhere, a new exhibition centre showcasing the history of north Armagh's linen industry is due to open its doors next week, reports the Lurgan Mail.

Carleton Street Orange Hall, Portadown, will host the display of artefacts, photographs and linen samples which cover the past 300-years.

It is due to stay open until St Patrick's Day and admission is free.

Image copyright Getty Images

Traders and the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) have met to discuss the impact of parking fines on businesses in Lurgan, Portadown and Banbridge.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart described it as "an informative meeting" with "some positive outcomes".

"We discussed more effective ways of issuing tickets in car parks, improved technology for pay and display car parks and the need for a car park strategy," she said.

Image copyright Mid Ulster Council
Image caption The 'Davagh Dark Skies' observatory will will include a visitor centre, virtual reality exhibition and telescope

'Massive tourist attraction'

Work on a new tourist attraction near Cookstown is due to start later this month, reports the Mid-Ulster Mail.

The 'Dark Sky Observatory', which has received £500,000 funding from the Department of Agriculture, is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Based in Davagh Forest, the project will include a visitors centre, a virtual reality exhibition and telescope.

Sinn Fein councillor Brian McGuigan welcomed the investment, adding that 'dark skies' sites are "a massive attraction in terms of tourism".

Image copyright Paul Martin
Image caption The observatory will be sited close to Beaghmore Stone Circles, captured here by photographer Paul Martin during a spectacular display of the Northern Lights

Also, the paper reports that a new art feature to be placed at the Castledawson roundabout on the main Belfast to Londonderry road has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The Gateway feature includes a sculpture, two bridges and pedestrian / cycle linkage.

The sculpture will reach a total height of 8.75m and will be made from galvanised steel and copper.

Costly cameras

Elsewhere, the Mourne Observer reports that CCTV cameras are to be removed from towns in Newcastle, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Ballynahinch and Warrenpoint by 2019.

The move has been put down to reduced crime rates and the age of the equipment.

The paper reports that the total cost to replace all cameras would be in the region of £460,000 - with an annual service charge of roughly £260,000.

A public consultation has been opened for local business owners and traders to express their views on the decision.

Image copyright Getty Images

The council in Newry, Mourne and Down also hopes to make the area more accessible for people living with dementia.

A motion was brought forward, aimed at encouraging the implementation of dementia friendly policies, such as making business and transport facilities dementia champions.

It received cross-party support at Monday evening's council meeting, reports the paper.

Calls for greater safety

There has been another push for safety measures to be implemented on the Knockmore Road in Lisburn, according to the Ulster Star.

It comes after a serious crash on the route on Tuesday.

A pensioner, understood to be in his 70s, was cut from his car before being taken to hospital for treatment.

Ulster Unionist MLA Robbie Butler has called for traffic management upgrades to be implemented at the junction, "before we are dealing with further tragedy".

Image copyright Getty Images

Meanwhile, dog owners and their pooches have taken part in a protest against Dog Control Orders proposed by Lisburn and Castlereagh Council.

The Ulster Star reports that the main points of controversy surrounding restrictions where dogs will be allowed off the lead.

Campaigners, who met at Wallace Park on Sunday, described the move as "restrictive and blatant discrimination" against responsible pet owners.

The council has reiterated that no decision has yet been made on the proposed measures.