Northern Ireland

Weekly paper review: Christmas hangovers and a GAA 'raid'

Coleraine Chronicle Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle
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Ballymena Guardian Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
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Banbridge Chronicle Image copyright Banbridge Chronicle
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Lurgan Mail Image copyright Lurgan Mail
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Fermanagh Herald Image copyright Fermanagh Herald
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Christmas is well and truly over, but often the festive disputes linger on.

One Christmas scrap, a GAA club raid and a Buckfast robbery, make for some of the headlines in the weekly papers.

UUP Alderman Arnold Hatch is furious after a DUP MLA called Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council demanding to have the Christmas music switched off less than a week after Christmas, the Lurgan Mail reports.

The spat began after MLA Carla Lockhart tweeted that she had asked the council to turn off the Christmas music that was being played in the town centre, using the hashtags #depressing #santaisnotcomingtotown.

Image copyright Getty Images

Cllr Hatch hit back at the request, saying that "it is preposterous from someone who is not a councillor or a director of ABC council to demand such action".

Those disposing of their Christmas leftovers are being praised, however.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has thanked residents for "treecycling" after Christmas.

Mayor Lindsay Millar says she is "encouraged" by the amount of people bringing their trees to the recycling centres.

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Media captionChristmas tree recycling: Don't let yours end up in a landfill

With children back at class, the Lurgan Mail splashes with a story of a proposal to bus Lurgan's children to Portadown.

The newspaper reports that it is one of the "preferred" options in a consultation on the future of Craigavon Senior High.

It understands that a proposal to merge the Lurgan and Portadown campuses has been put forward by the Education Authority.

Speaking to the Lurgan Mail, Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MLA Doug Beattie says that the fate of the Lurgan campus "will not be decided by the community or the families of the children".

Balloons and Buckfast

A hot air balloon hovering over Banbridge turned a few heads last week, according to the Banbridge Chronicle.

The "rare sight" hanging over a grey sky prompted passers-by to take out their cameras to get a few snaps.

One onlooker said it made a "pleasant change from the norm".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A man admitted to stealing three bottles of Buckfast from a supermarket in Rathfriland

The Banbridge Chronicle also carries a story about a man from Rathfriland who admitted to stealing three bottles of Buckfast from a supermarket in the town.

The 20-year-old man appeared before Banbridge Magistrates' Court last Thursday.

He was ordered to pay £20.97 to Eurospar Rathfriland.

Changing room robbery

The Fermanagh Herald splashes with a story about a GAA club robbery.

Thieves stole the belongings of players from Devenish St Mary's GAA club during a training session on Sunday morning.

Mobile phones, bank cards, wallets and other valuables were among the items stolen.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The goods were stolen from the changing room while the players were out training

The secretary of the GAA club told the Herald "everyone is shocked that it happened", but "thankfully this is not something that is commonplace in the area".

Major roadworks will be causing disruption in Enniskillen over the coming months, the Herald reports.

The newspaper writes that 2019 will see continual traffic disruptions as part of an £8m plan to transform the town.

Return to the Congo

Tyrone pensioner Maud Kells makes the front page of the Mid-Ulster Herald this week.

Ms Kells, who was shot twice in the shoulder while living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tells the newspaper she is preparing for a last visit to the war-torn country.

The 79-year-old missionary will bring medical supplies to the mother and baby nursery in the rural Mulita area she spent most of her adult life building up.

Image caption Maud Kells has served in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1968

Two friends from Magherafelt are embarking on a "hair-raising challenge" to grow their hair out for charity, quips the Mid-Ulster Mail.

Kevin Chung and Francie Heaney, who are both bald, used to tease each other about who had the most hair on their head.

They have now set each other a New Year's challenge to grow as much hair as they can by the end of January.

Jobs boost and jobs loss

Some good news for Coleraine, as one of the area's biggest private sector employers is set to expand.

The Coleraine Chronicle has the story that Lynas Foodservice has lodged plans to build a new grocery warehouse at its Loughanhill distribution centre.

The application states that around 20 jobs will be created as a result.

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Image caption A homelessness group met to highlight the support available in the area

Meanwhile, a newly formed Regional Homelessness Group for the Causeway area has met to highlight the support that is available across the statutory and voluntary sector.

Meeting at Vineyard Compassion in Coleraine, the group received an update on progress to achieve actions in the Housing Executive's Ending Homelessness Together Strategy, which runs until 2022.

"It is extremely important that all sectors work together to alleviate homelessness," Ricky Wright of Vineyard Compassion tells the Chronicle.

While Coleraine is glad of its jobs boost, Ballymena is reeling as two local firms will shut up shop.

JBE Mechanical Electrical announced it was to go into administration last week and was quickly followed by news on Monday that local eatery Montgomery's is closing down.

JBE Mechanical Electrical, which was set up in 1983, employs 57 people.