Northern Ireland

Weekly newspaper review: Gladrags, Santa clash and frog intruders

Fermanagh Herald Image copyright Fermanagh Herald
Ballymena Guardian Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
Coleraine Times Image copyright Coleraine Times
Portadown Times Image copyright Portadown Times
Mid Ulster Mail Image copyright Mid Ulster Mail
Newry Reporter Image copyright Newry Reporter

There is one consensus among the weekly papers: It's formal season.

Final year pupils from across Northern Ireland are pictured on the front or inside their local newspapers in their full glitz and glamour.

Pupils from Mount Lourdes in Fermanagh paired their glad rags with umbrellas to head out in the rain to attend their formal in Carrick-on-Shannon.

But, as the Fermanagh Herald's headline puts it, they still had a "brolly good time".

The Mid-Ulster Mail has another school story, this time about the parents.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The new group aims to raise essential funds for Holy Trinity Primary School in County Tyrone

The newspaper reports that parents at a school in Cookstown, County Tyrone, have formed a new group tackling problems caused by cuts to education budgets.

Friends of Holy Trinity Primary School aims to raise funds to generate essential funds for the school from basic teaching material to interactive whiteboards for each of the classrooms.

Elsewhere in the paper, the Mid Ulster District Council has written to BT requesting them to retain the public phone box on the Lough Fea Road, near Cookstown.

The move was proposed by Ulster Unionist Councillor Mark Glasgow at the council's recent monthly meeting.

Mr Glasgow argues that it is important payphones are kept, particularly in rural areas.

Kris Kringle clash

He might be the world's most generous man, but that hasn't stopped social media from dragging Father Christmas into a Remembrance Day row.

The Fermanagh Herald reports that plans for Santa Claus to appear at Erneside Shopping Centre have been shelved because of social media complaints that his arrival clashes with Remembrance Day in Enniskillen.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Father Christmas was at the centre of a social media storm

Some branded the calendar clash as "disgraceful" and "totally wrong".

The shopping centre will now host Santa on Friday, 23 November.

The Kilimanjaro kid

Eleven-year-old Conor Bannon earns himself a two-page spread in the Newry Reporter for becoming the youngest person from Northern Ireland to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

He follows in the footsteps of his famous father, Terence 'Banjo' Bannon, who was the second Irishman to climb Mount Everest.

It took Conor seven nights and eight days to scale the world's tallest freestanding mountain and he raised £4,000 in the process.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Conor Bannon reached the summit last week

Conor told the Reporter that when he got to the peak he felt "great", but "really tired as well".

Meanwhile, a bus stop in Bessbrook makes the headlines for a second time this year.

The Newry Reporter writes that Sinn Féin and the SDLP have again clashed over the location of the bus shelter.

The disagreement was over whether the bus shelter should be located in Cloughreagh Park or at a new site in nearby John F Kennedy Park.

Between rocks and a doggy place

On Monday night, councillors voted in favour of the site at John F Kennedy Park with 15 in favour and 11 against.

Councillor Roisin Mulgrew posted online after the meeting that the decision was shameful.

Good news for the Causeway Coast and Glens as it celebrates its growing reputation as a dog-friendly holiday destination in the Coleraine Times.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Two local businesses were nominated for the UK-wide Dog Friendly Awards

Dog Friendly Tours was shortlisted for the Days Out With Your Dog award, while the Inn on the Coast in Portrush came second in the list of Best Places to Stay.

Establishments in the area have welcomed dog owners and their pets as the hospitality sector works hard to facilitate dog lovers, according to the Times.

Portrush's rocks make for a feature in the Coleraine Times.

The writer follows along as locals walk the seaside town scouring every wall, corner and bench for rocks.

In a bid to encourage children away from TV and iPhones, Amanda Gibson has invented a simple game: Portrush Rocks

All you have to do is find a rock, decorate it, hide it again somewhere around the town and when someone finds it again they post it on Facebook.

Set up in 2017, the Facebook page has grown its followers from 300 to 2,500.

The frog-eating dog

The Portadown Times has the bizarre story of a frog, a hungry dog and a call to police.

It says a dog went "hopping mad" over an amphibian intruder at a house in the town.

However, the resident's son said he had seen someone at the back of the house and blood was spotted on the doorframe.

Image copyright Getty Images

Concerned by recent break-ins in the area, the householder called police. They discovered a portion of a frog's leg, which they determined was the source of the blood.

The householder remains unconvinced, saying the blood was "chest high", however the paper quotes the PSNI: "There was no attempted burglary. A dog ate a frog."

On its front page, the paper has the claim that staff morale at Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council is at an "all time low".

DUP councillor Darryn Causby said that since the council was established three years ago, no final structure for it has yet been put in place.

Falling masonry and a farewell

The Ballymena Guardian reports that tenants of a building on Wellington Street were ordered to leave after it was deemed unsafe.

According to the report, the harshness of last winter caused parts of the building to deteriorate.

After part of the cornice fell from the building's facade Mid and East Antrim Council cordoned off the footpath.

Meanwhile, Betty Shaw has been honoured across half a page in the Guardian as she closes the doors of her bed and breakfast after 33 years.

Mayor Lindsay Millar said Ms Shaw's service to local tourism was a "fantastic achievement".