Northern Ireland

NI weekly paper review: Stressed children turning to drugs

Ulster Gazette Image copyright Ulster Gazette
Front page of the Coleraine Chronicle Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle
Newry Reporter
Impartial Reporter
Mid-Ulster Mail

We begin this week's weekly paper review in Newry, where 95 children were treated for drug overdoses within the space of 18 months, according to the Newry Reporter.

"Distress and pressure is driving kids to drugs," reads the paper's headline.

It quotes the director of local addiction charity, Rosemary Rooney, who believes the statistics are "intrinsically linked with mental health issues".

In total, Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospital in Portadown have treated 250 children between January 2017 and 2018.

Image copyright pixelfit
Image caption Rosemary Rooney of Davina's Ark says young people are not getting enough support for mental health issues

A spokesperson for the Southern Trust said the drugs commonly associated with overdoses include antidepressants, opiates and benzodiazepine.

Ms Rooney, of the Davina's Ark charity, told the publication that the children are overdosing as they "try to cope with feelings of distress and pressure".

"They may be trying to get the help they need because there aren't any services out there really available for them," she said.

Coleraine Chronicle

Moving to the north west, "TV star Nesbitt in local planning row" is the headline in the Coleraine Chronicle.

It reports that planners at the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council have recommended refusing permission for a luxury house developed by property firm Nesbro Ltd - which is primarily owned by TV star James Nesbitt.

The original application, submitted in October 2016, was initially rejected after neighbours expressed concerns over the window.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A property firm owned by TV star James Nesbitt is in a dispute with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Designs were redrawn to remove the window and the application was re-submitted by Nesbro Ltd in September 2017 before being given the green light.

"However, earlier this year the firm submitted updated plans - which included a first-floor balcony with the controversial window back in the frame," writes the Chronicle.

It previously reported that Nesbitt's agent claimed the property was only redesigned to bypass the council's planning committee and that it always intended to reinstate the original plans under "permitted development rights".

The Chronicle quotes Mr Nesbitt's agent as saying a report presented to the planning committee on the matter was "factually inaccurate and imbalanced".

The matter has now been passed to the council's committee of elected members, who will make a decision next week.

Scam email

Moving to the Larne Times, Carrickfergus Community Forum has raised the alarm over a scam email.

"The forum has warned those in receipt of an email, claiming to have been sent by the group requesting invoice payment, not to open it," it writes.

Scamwise NI, a watchdog body, also reported that a Carrick businessman "had a narrow escape from fraudsters".

"A spokesperson said that the man had been contacted earlier this year by a company that claimed to be able to get him a tax refund for his business through an alleged loophole in the law," said the body.

Image caption Mrs Wilson features scenes from Carnfunnock Country Park and Larne Promenade

Inside the paper, there's praise for new BBC television drama Mrs Wilson, which features a backdrop of locations around Mid and East Antrim.

The programme, aired on Tuesday evenings on BBC One at 21:00 GMT, features scenes from Carnfunnock Country Park and Larne Promenade.

Actress Ruth Wilson is the lead in the mystery drama, which is based on the extraordinary life of her own grandmother Alison Wilson.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Lindsay Millar, told the paper: "Mid and East Antrim has very strong links to the world's most popular television series of all time, Game of Thrones, and it is fantastic that film and television crews are increasingly using our borough's stunning scenery and remarkable built heritage."

In County Fermanagh, the Impartial Reporter carries a story about disabled parking bays used for PSNI winter safety checks.

Image copyright Artur

"The PSNI in Fermanagh are facing a backlash on social media after a Facebook post, intended to promote their recent winter car safety checks, showed their simulator car parked over two disabled parking bays," the paper reports.

The post featured a photograph of a crash car simulator parked in the disabled parking area outside Asda Enniskillen, offering free checks on tyres and lights.

It received a number of angry comments, "with many suggesting that the PSNI should have been more considerate of disability parking bay users", says the paper.

However, PSNI Const Trevor Kirke, who deals with road safety, told the Impartial Reporter: "Placing the vehicle around the corner or further away from the main door would have reduced the impact of the important message that we were seeking to put across with the result that a number of people would have missed out on the event."

Benefits stress

The Mid-Ulster Mail carries an interview with the SDLP's Patsy McGlone, who says he is being contacted on a daily basis by people who are facing difficulties since the benefit reforms were implemented in the area.

"I am being inundated with people highlighting issues surrounding the system," he said.

"Many of the people who have been in touch are suffering from anxiety and depression and the nature of the complex process is creating additional stress."

He urged people to seek advice from specialist agencies about Universal Credit before going and making a claim.

"There are people who would be on ESA, Job Seekers or in receivership of tax credits. If their application for Universal Credit is unsuccessful, they could be out of a lot of money."

Top of the world

The Ulster Gazette tells the story of two men who have scaled true heights to raise money for charity.

Chip shop owners Malachy Mallon and his friend, Alan Hanna, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in September.

But they didn't stop there. They opened a pop-up chip shop while they were there.

"At the top of the world, we did what we do best... cook fish and chips," said Malachy.

Image copyright Byrdyak
Image caption Malachy Mallon and Alan Hanna opened a pop-up chip shop at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro

"We had trained well for the climb and the cooking was great fun. Of course it was an amazing adventure."

The Gazette reports that the orphanage was able to buy food, mattresses and pay the rent for a year and, crucially, to access running water.

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