Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Jackson-Olding advert and Belfast séances

News Letter Image copyright News Letter
Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror

It almost seems like Groundhog Day in Wednesday's papers, as the Good Friday Agreement, Jackson-Olding fallout and a Newry playpark again make headlines.

Last week people calling for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to be released by Ulster Rugby paid for an advert in the Belfast Telegraph.

Today a full-page advert calls for the two players, who were cleared of rape last month, to be reinstated.

The advert is signed "Real fans standing up for the Ulster men".

It is addressed to the leadership of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The fallout from the rape trial of Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson continues

"What is reprehensible is the extent of the social media backlash aimed at incriminating men unanimously acquitted of any crime. We are fed up with this cyber persecution," it states.

"The IRFU should take note of the silent majority and not bow to the court of social media."

The News Letter returns to the controversial issue of the park in Newry named after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

The News Letter says that the SDLP leadership has warned councillors in Newry that if the row over the name is not resolved soon they should bring forward their own motion to rename it.

"The SDLP leadership is crystal clear that this naming was wrong and has caused hurt to victims," the paper quotes an SDLP spokeswoman.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The SDLP leadership has said the naming of the playpark after Raymond McCreesh was wrong

The Irish News leads with the tragic death of County Tyrone mother of three Anne McCann.

Mrs McCann died after trying to prevent her car from rolling onto the road near her home in Altamuskin.

Parish priest Fr Michael Michael O'Dwyer said the death has stunned the community.

"She was focused on her family first and foremost. It's a terrible thing to happen," he said.

'Cherished gift of family'

Several of the papers show heartbreaking pictures from the funeral of young Carter Carson, the Newtownabbey nine-year-old killed in a hit-and-run incident in Tenerife.

A tribute to Carter from his dad, Stuart, read out during the service, will have particular resonance for parents.

"Gently kiss your children on the cheek and never let the boring obligations of life distract from the cherished gift of family," he said.

Bill Clinton and the Good Friday Agreement again makes the front page of the Daily Mirror.

On Tuesday, it was a warning from Mr Clinton that Northern Ireland could "return to hell", on Wednesday it's the former president's plea for NI to "inspire the world" by "saving the peace".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Friends and enemies? Some of the politicians who took part in Tuesday's Good Friday Agreement event

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Ivan Little says: "Their hair may have been a little greyer, their walking slower and their voices somewhat weaker, but the architects of the Good Friday Agreement were still looking healthier than their stalled 20-year-old peace deal at a remarkable anniversary reunion in Belfast yesterday."

A picture from the event on the front of the News Letter is headlined: "Twenty years on, friends (and enemies) reunited."

All the papers report on former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon's criticism of the DUP and Sinn Féin and their "Balkanisation of Northern Ireland politics".

The Irish News invited readers to give their verdicts on the Good Friday Agreement.

The responses are, perhaps surprisingly, mixed.

"I've lived two thirds of my life in a peaceful prosperous society, that's a success," says one.

However, another reader says: "A lame deal that most supported out of a hunger for peace."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A number of people from Northern Ireland have been invited to the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

The News Letter features some people from Northern Ireland who have been invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

They include Londonderry mother and daughter Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll who received separate invites 90 minutes apart and a former RIR soldier from Ballymena who lost a leg in Afghanistan.

Haunted Holyland

While it's now best known for the behaviour of some of its student residents, it seems that in the early 1900s south Belfast's Holyland area was at the centre of a paranormal investigation.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Séances were held in Belfast's Holyland area in Victorian times

The Belfast Telegraph looks back at the bizarre case of teenager Kathleen Goligher.

While her family regularly organised séances, Kathleen was said to be the most "mediumistic", reputed to be able to communicate with the spirit world, levitate tables and even produce ectoplasm.

This led to a series of experiments in her Artana Street home that convinced a New Zealand-born lecturer at Queen's University that she was genuine.

Further studies, however, established the case to be very likely a fake and the "ectoplasm" was in fact either white gauze or muslin from her skirt.

A play about the case is being performed in east Belfast this weekend.