NI weekly papers: Foul play, dirty tricks and sea creatures

Published
image copyrightBallymoney Chronicle
image copyrightLurgan Mail
image copyrightMourne Observer
image copyrightThe Impartial Reporter
image copyrightLondonderry Sentinel

There are plenty of stories of bitter rows and outrage in this week's local papers.

The Ballymoney Chronicle leads with a claim that 32 people in north Antrim were warned that they are under threat from loyalist paramilitaries.

Russell Watson from the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) makes the claim, accusing police of a "dirty tricks" campaign against loyalists.

The PUP councillor tells the paper the threats are being "orchestrated to give loyalism a bad name".

Mr Watson made the claim after he spoke to a senior police officer.

'Backfired'

He says the number of people in the area allegedly warned about their safety over a 12-day period was "unprecedented, even at the height of the Troubles".

"But if they [the police] are trying to create dissension it has backfired, people are coming to me and I am telling them there is no threat from loyalists," the councillor added.

The Chronicle also reports on plans to develop a new four-star hotel in the hamlet of Derrykeighan, on the outskirts of Ballymoney.

The proposal would see a listed building, Old Glebe house, transformed into 61-bedroom hotel which could cater for weddings and conferences.

The paper says the project could provide "a £20m boost" for the local economy.

'Poo minefield'

A sports club has banned all dog walkers from using its grounds after some very foul play in County Armagh, according to the Lurgan Mail.

Lurgan Rugby and Cricket Club announced its ban on social media after one of its members landed in dog mess during a match at Pollock Park.

image copyrightLurgan Mail
image captionSliding tackles can be a dirty business in Pollock Park

"A player today was covered and it was close to his eye," a disgusted club committee member Kyle Geddis wrote on Facebook.

The paper says Pollock Park is a favoured spot for dog walkers, but adds that a few irresponsible pet owners have "turned the area into a poo minefield".

The Mail's top story is a bitter row between a former school governor and the Education Authority (EA) over the future of school provision in Portadown.

Clive Maxwell is an outspoken critic of the Dickson Plan, a system that selects pupils for grammar school at 14 instead of 11 that only operates in north County Armagh.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe Dickson Plan is a system that selects pupils for grammar school at 14 instead of 11 and only operates in north County Armagh.

He wrote an angry letter to the EA after he failed to be reappointed governor of Lurgan Junior High School.

"Is this pathetic attempt to silence me?" he wrote.

He also criticises what he claims are resurrected proposals to send high school students from Lurgan to classes in Portadown.

"Bussing these children to Portadown would rip the heart out of a Protestant community already on life support," Mr Maxwell wrote.

'Written off'

Recurrent flooding on a rural road in County Down is causing anger among local residents, according to the Mourne Observer.

It says two cars have been "written off" after they were submerged in flood water on the Carnreagh Road, Drumaroad during heavy rainfall.

image copyrightAFP
image captionOne of the vehicles caught up in the flooding floats down the Carnreagh Road

Residents say they have been appealing to the Department for Infrastructure for two years to install flood alleviation measures along the road and that they have "had enough".

The department tells the paper it will spend £200,000 on tackling the problem and hopes to complete the work by March 2019.

The Observer also reports on a lucky escape for Bluebell, a rare blue lobster caught off the County Down coast.

"It is believed that the chances of seeing, never mind catching, a blue lobster is one in two million," the paper says.

The "curiously coloured crustacean" was destined for a dinner plate until a sharp-eyed seafood supplier noticed there was something different about this particular catch.

The 25-year-old breeding female was given refuge at Seascope, Northern Ireland's only dedicated lobster hatchery.

Bluebell laid about 1,500 eggs before being released back into the sea, where it is hoped she will continue to boost wild lobster numbers.

Million pound Council investment plan

Derry City and Strabane District Council has been presented with a plan which would see £1.892m pumped into numerous capital development projects, reports the Londonderry Sentinel.

Members of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee heard that rural areas are set to benefit in particular.

Greenways, playparks and community centres are also among key projects to benefit from the funding boost, improving leisure and community provision in numerous areas.

Chairperson of the committee, Cllr Cus Hastings, said: "I am delighted to see so many capital projects benefiting from this support, especially projects in rural areas where smaller communities can struggle to fund the vital projects they need to deliver."

image copyrightPSNI
image captionA man has been charged following the murder of Pauline Kilkenny

Tributes paid to murder victim

Pauline Kilkenny, 59, was found dead by her sister at her home on the Cornacully Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Concerns were raised when Ms Kilkenny did not appear for a shift at work, something which was out of character.

A neighbour told the paper that the community was "angered and shocked at recent events and this cowardly act".

image captionThe 59-year-old was found dead in her home in County Fermanagh

Dominic Kerrigan added: "Pauline was very well known and liked within the community.

"She was known across the parish for her love of animals and was always a great woman for a story a chat and a laugh."

Narrow escape

In other news, the paper reports that a young family of four lucky escaped injury after their car was struck by another vehicle.

Laura Johnston was travelling with her fiancé Gary Wylie and their two daughters, aged 3 and 2, on Saturday night.

Their car was hit on Gardiners Cross Road.

image copyrightGetty Images

"They came towards us on our side of the road," Laura told the paper.

"My three-year-old, her door was just a mess, it was just hanging on. It was quite scary," she added.

PSNI have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Suspected voyeur in Omagh

The Ulster Herald reports that a man has been arrested after he was allegedly caught spying on a young girl in the unisex changing rooms at Omagh Leisure Complex.

According to the paper, police said a man in his 60s was arrested.

"Police received two reports of sexual indecency on a female at commercial premises in Omagh," said police.

A spokesperson for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said: "The council does not wish to make any comments at this time."

The possible loss of on of a well known County Tyrone pub, the Village Inn, makes the inside pages of the Herald.

The Herald describes the pub as being at the heart of the Killyclogher community since it was taken over by Eddie McGinn in 1955.

Its current proprietor, Mr McGinn's son Eddie, has put the venue up for lease.