Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Holiday heartbreak and a licence to burn

Magaluf Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Aaron Henderson died after a suspected assault in the holiday resort of Magaluf

A grieving family's decision to donate their son's organs after he died during a holiday in Majorca leads the News Letter on Wednesday.

Aaron Henderson from Coleraine, County Londonderry, died in hospital last week following a suspected assault in the holiday resort of Magaluf.

His heartbroken father tells the paper the organ donation meant the 30 year old "didn't die in vain".

They are also facing an "agonising wait" to bring his body back home.

The story is also carried in the Belfast Telegraph, which says Mr Henderson's remains have not yet been released as local police are still investigating his death.

"When I went out I asked the police (Majorca's Civil Guard) if it was a murder, but they would only say the investigation is ongoing," his father said.

The Irish News leads with details of Northern Ireland's "first bonfire licensing scheme" which is to be introduced by Mid Ulster District Council next year.

The paper says it will mean people who organise bonfires on council-owned land will be required to have public liability insurance.

Image caption Will the question soon be asked: "Do you have a licence for that bonfire?"

The policy will also require them to follow health and safety procedures, including erecting safety barriers, and ban the burning of tyres, flags and emblems.

On a day when no one story dominates the front pages, the Belfast Telegraph takes a punt on an exclusive on the future of Down Royal racecourse.

The paper says the venue is "facing a fight for survival in its present form" and as its management could face "eviction" from their Dublin-based landlords.

Down Royal has operated at the Maze site, outside Lisburn, for more than two centuries, but the landowners are now considering taking the reigns and running the track themselves.

The Belfast Telegraph also carries an alarming photo of the aftermath of a head-on crash between an ambulance and a lorry in County Down.

It happened close to Mount Stewart stately home on Tuesday afternoon, as the crew were transporting a patient.

A former ambulance worker tells the paper: "From the looks of the vehicle, the crew are really lucky to be alive".

The paramedics, their patient and the lorry driver were all treated in hospital after the collision.

The Daily Mirror reports that the Police Service of Northern Ireland are investigating abuse allegations against the former football youth coach, Barry Bennell.

Bennell was convicted of a litany of child sex abuse charges against young footballers in England in February.

The paper says Bennell attended Northern Ireland's youth football tournament - the Milk Cup - four times.

The story is also carried in the Irish News, which says the PSNI is investigating a claim he abused a boy in County Antrim in 1990.

Image caption Convicted paedophile Barry Bennell reportedly attended Northern Ireland's Milk Cup four times

The latest revelations in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) public inquiry is continuing to stoke flames in Wednesday's papers.

The inquiry's chairman, Sir Patrick Coghlin, was seemingly astonished at the catalogue of blunders by civil servants involved in the flawed energy scheme.

He is quoted in the Belfast Telegraph describing the lack of communication between officials "almost surreal".

Could it have been even worst?

The News Letter says that at one point, RHI officials had been exploring the possibility of an "even more lucrative tariff" for the subsidised scheme, unaware that costs were already out of control.

The much-maligned civil service wins praise in the Belfast Telegraph's editorial, for announcing decisions to spend £60m in education and £15m on GP services.

However, the paper says that "while civil servants can often take a more objective view on how money is spent than politicians, whose constituency is always a vested interest, this is not the way to run Northern Ireland".

They may be in charge of the purse strings for some time though, as statements coming out of Dublin appear to paint a bleak picture of Anglo-Irish co-operation.

Many of the papers report that the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar has been "rebuffed" by the Northern Ireland Office in his latest attempts to break the political deadlock at Stormont.

Mr Varadkar wants the British and Irish governments to draw up a joint agreement which would then be put to the Stormont parties to chart a way back to power sharing.

"As things stand, we don't have agreement from the British government to do that," the taoiseach said.

The News Letter says Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, whose government relies on DUP support at Westminster, will not "impose" a deal on the parties.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ed Sheeran will play a sell-out show in Belfast later

Finally, Ed Sheeran may be a very busy man, travelling between a serious of gigs right across the UK and Ireland this month, but he still made time to fit in a round of golf in County Down.

The singer-songwriter is pictured on the front of the Irish News, after meeting staff and taking selfies with fans at Ardglass Golf Club on Tuesday.

His sell-out concert at Belfast's Boucher Road Playing Fields on Wednesday night will clash with a Europa League match at Windsor Park.

Traffic congestion in the area is expected later - you have been warned.