Northern Ireland

Weekly papers: Fermanagh's fuel row and the 100-year-old lovebirds

Coleraine Times Image copyright Coleraine Times
Fermanagh herald front page Image copyright fermanagh herald
Antrim Guardian front page Image copyright Antrim Guardian
Ulster Herald Image copyright Ulster Herald
P'down Times Image copyright Portadown Times
Newry Reporter front page Image copyright Newry Reporter

Are Fermanagh folk paying more for their fuel than those in County Tyrone?

The Fermanagh Herald reports that filling up at the pumps in the county costs considerably more than its neighbour.

In a sample survey the paper found a "significant difference" in prices between the two counties but found little difference in filling up over the border.

In Fermanagh the average price of petrol was found to be 132.9p and 133.9p for diesel, while in the town of Omagh, petrol was 128.9p and diesel 128.6p.

One driver admitted: "I only ever get diesel in Enniskillen when I desperately need to."

Image copyright MATJAZ SLANIC

Meanwhile, a barber in the town has appeared in court after he ran over a traffic warden's foot, the paper reports.

Paul McGuigan, 39, of Windmill Heights appeared in Enniskillen Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to careless driving last September.

McGuigan called the police himself after the incident.

His defence barrister said the self-employed barber ran out to move his car and accepted that he "probably shouldn't have moved it with the warden so close by".

The judge said while the incident was "unfortunate", he accepted it had been an accident and that McGuigan had acknowledged he shouldn't have moved the car.

He was issued three penalty points and a fine of £250 because the individual involved was a public servant.

A picture of old-fashioned love leads the Antrim Guardian - 100-year-old Joe Graham gets a birthday smooch from his wife, 99-year-old Nellie.

The couple, from Randalstown, got married in 1943.

Refreshingly, Nellie tells the paper that the secret to their marital bliss is not that they'd "never had a cross word".

"We could have half a dozen rows before breakfast," she says frankly.

Mr Graham even got a video message from none other than Coleraine's most famous export - Jimmy Nesbitt.

Jimmy, the old charmer, tells Mr Graham that he doesn't look a day over 60.

'Close the door behind you'

From 76 years of true love to quitting the job for love. The paper has the news that a DUP "rising star" has given up with a dramatic headline - "I Quit".

The paper reports that councillor Nigel Kells has resigned from the party and he reveals the decision was driven by his divorce and decision to get engaged to his current partner.

There are some rather searing words from a party colleague

The paper claims one councillor said: "He was seen as one of the golden boys but now that reputation has been tarnished.

"Now I'm afraid it's goodbye. Close the door behind you."

Image caption Strabane's iconic sculptures, nicknamed the Tinnies, are dressed in County colours all set for Sunday

You'll be hard pushed to find a County Tyrone paper that isn't bedecked in red and white ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland SFC final against Dublin at Croke Park,

The Ulster Herald leads with a full page picture of little Eoin O'Neill from Beragh cheering for his county.

Further into the paper we hear about a Killyclogher family whose loyalties are divided.

Spare a thought for Dublin native Anne Coyle who lives in the village with her family.

When the red and white flags are waving there will also be a little interloper blue and white Dublin flag waving furiously.

While husband Sean and the children will be shouting for Tyrone, Anne says: "They haven't won the All Ireland championship in 10 years and they aren't going to win it on Sunday".

Fighting talk indeed.

Image copyright Geograph/Kenneth Allen
Image caption Cappagh Church of Ireland, Gortin Road

Also in the paper - a church in Omagh is in full bloom. Cappagh Church of Ireland's upcoming flower festival sees the church transform into an "oasis of colour", reports the paper.

The theme is all things bright and beautiful and the decorations in the church aim to reflect that.

The Festival of Flowers runs from 14 - 17 September.

Strike action looms, according to The Newry Reporter.

The paper reports that the possibility of industrial action at Newry Mourne and Down District Council is inching closer.

The "toxic relationship" has reached a tipping point after four unions, which have members among the council staff, claimed there were "failures" to merge employment policies from legacy authorities before the merger.

The paper says the action came as a "surprise" to the local authority.

The council says it is disappointed to see unions issue a pre-emptive strike action on Bank Holiday Monday.

It says it's committed to resolving the issue with unions but warns that negotiations must be conducted in "good faith and transparency".

However Alan Perry - JTUS chair says it is a historic mark of shame that all four unions have jointly balloted for action.

Image copyright Reuters

Pope Francis may have come to a wet and windy Ireland but some County Down pilgrims still made the journey to see him.

The paper shows those who braved the elements to attend the World Meeting of Families.

Young and old from Bessbook, Newry, Warrenpoint and Rostrevor all made their way to Phoenix Park to catch a glimpse of the pontiff and attend the special Mass.

A gay pride rainbow flag row rumbles on says the Portadown Times.

In early August DUP councillors in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council (ABC) challenged a decision to fly a rainbow flag on council premises using the "call-in" mechanism.

The councillors said they believed due process was not followed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Since it was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978, the rainbow flag has grown to become the most recognisable symbol of LGBT groups

The paper reports that a confidential meeting on the matter descended into "name calling".

The "secret meeting" was to discuss legal advice on the calling-in procedure.

Sinn Féin councillor Liam Mackle reportedly branded the DUP homophobic, which Cllr Mark Baxter said was "abusive language".

However, the paper also reports that both parties are calling the meeting a "victory".

Cllr Baxter says the whole thing was a "political stunt" from Sinn Féin, while Paul Duffy from the party said it was a "time wasting exercise" by the DUP.

'Sniffing air fresheners'

The paper also reports on the court appearance of a man who has a "habit of sniffing air fresheners".

Christopher Foster, 38, of Primrose Way in Dromore, appeared in Craigavon's Magistrates' Court with the charge of being unfit through drink or drugs.

The court heard that police received a report from Lidl in Portadown of someone buying a "large quantity of air fresheners" last September.

The paper reports he had inhaled air fresheners and asked to be taken to hospital.

The prosecution said a blood sample showed a prescribed drug and any evidence of being unfit was down to the observations of a police officer.

His lawyer said he had "experimented" with this in his teenage years and the problem seemed to have raised its head again.

He was fined £350 and disqualified from driving for three months.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tickets for all four days of next year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush have sold out

The north coast is set to host the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 2019

Now, there are "deepening concerns" that some new hotels, which are due to open, may not be ready in time, reports the Coleraine Times.

DUP MLA Maurice Bradley says there is a rise in the number of challenges facing planning applications in the area.

Citing the need for new hotels, he tells the paper: "Planners need to be of the 'can do' attitude instead of 'can't do'."

Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald says her party is "committed to redressing decades of regional economic imbalance across the north and ensuring investment development in the north and west".