Northern Ireland

NI paper review: McCreesh Park controversy and cat rescue

front page of the Newry Reporter Wednesday 4 April 2018 Image copyright Newry Reporter
front page of the Fermanagh Herald, Wednesday 4 April 2018 Image copyright Fermanagh Herald

CCTV camera removal, controversy over the name of a play park and a cat rescue all feature in the weekly papers.

In Newry, unionist councillors are to bring a motion to forward calling for the removal of Raymond McCreesh's name from the title of the park.

It comes just months after Sinn Féin and SDLP councillors voted against renaming the park.

The name of the park has been a point of contention since it opened in 2001.

Image caption Sinn Féin and SDLP councillors voted against renaming the park

Independent councillor Henry Reilly told the Newry Reporter that unionist councillors, "didn't want to do this by any means...but it became clear that there are not other options available to us".

Meanwhile Sinn Féin MP, Mickey Brady, said is was an example of unionists "demonising" Ballybot residents.

He added: "This latest attempt led by Cllr Henry Reilly, to trample over the will of the Ballybot community should be recognised by all councillors as a deliberate attempt to stir community tensions."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police are hoping to tackle anti-social behaviour on Larne

Increased patrols

The Police are to increase their presence in and around Larne after a number of newly-planted trees were uprooted at Town Park on the Glenarm Road.

A spokesperson for the PSNI told the Larne Times a small group of young people "appear intent on causing destruction".

Police have also appealed for parents to be aware of their children's whereabouts.

CCTV removal

The Newry Reporter reveals that local businesses and the Newry Chamber of Trade and Commerce were not consulted ahead of the council's decision to remove CCTV from town centres.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is set to remove the cameras from Newry City, Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Newcastle and Warrenpoint by March 2019.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Local businesses and the Newry Chamber of Trade and Commerce say they were not consulted about the move

In a statement, the chamber said it had been "surprised at the decision taken by the council to remove CCTV given that this technology plays a significant role as a crime deterrent".

"Newry Chamber is in the process of consulting its own member independently and will be providing in-depth feedback into the consultation," it added.

The council said the decision came about as "crime levels throughout the district continue at low levels, based on reported crime in all categories" and that there is no evidence to measure how much of a deterrent the cameras are.

Cat-astrophy avoided

Social media has helped to to save a cat from disaster, after it was stuck up a tree for three days, reports the Portadown Times.

Vilma Orzekaukaite spotted the furry feline in People's Park and tried to coax it down with food, but discovered it was unable to escape.

The cat lover took to social media and received help from tree surgeon Peter Boyd, who scaled the tree and brought the cat to down safely.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The old Waterside train station was originally built in the 1800s

Multi-modal transport hub

A £27m investment for a multi-modal transport hub in the North-West has been given support by key tourism stakeholders, reports the Londonderry Sentinel.

Tourism NI, Visit Derry and Belmond - a luxury railway journey provider - have encouraged Derry City and Strabane Council to approve proposals next month.

If accepted, the scheme would see Waterside train station refurbished with bus access, park and ride facilities, and retail and office space.

Chief Executive of Tourism NI, John McGrillen, said his organisation welcomed the proposed investment by Translink.

"One of our biggest challenges is connectivity across the region, particularly to and within the North West," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The old station was identified as the preferred site for the £26m transport hub after a public consultation

'Out of character'

A 19-year-old who shot a BB gun at a woman in Omagh last April has been fined £240, reports the Fermanagh Herald.

Alex Quinn of Rossorry Church Road admitted striking the woman on the head with a pellet at Omagh Magistrates Court.

The court heard how he through the gun into a river after the incident and was later identified to police by a number of males.

Quinn's defence solicitor said his client was "engaging with other males in foolish behaviour and had not intended to strike the female with the pellet," adding that the action was "somewhat out of character".

The District Judge, Michael Ranahan said Quinn was "lucky the pellet seemed to strike the lady without any serious or lasting injury".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anglers are worried about an influx of Rainbow Trout in the Mourne River

Rainbow Trout 'plague'

An influx of Rainbow Trout into the River Mourne has been described as a "plague" by local anglers, according to the Strabane Chronicle.

In August 2017, a large number of the fish broke free from a fish farm near Newtownstewart after it suffered severe flood damage, and entered local waterways.

Ahead of this weekend's North West Angling Fair, Barney Winters of Strabane and Lifford Anglers told the paper the issue was "a disaster".

"There is real potential here for these Rainbow Trout to ruin one of the best Salmon rivers in Europe," he said.

"Various statutory bodies played down what happened at the fish farm but with what we've been seeing, since the start of the season, things are only going to get worse."