Northern Ireland

Thursday's headlines: Brexit flashpoints and drugs death

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
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News Letter Image copyright News Letter
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Brexit flashpoints, cancer patient delays and a tragic drugs death are all stories that make the front pages of Thursday's papers.

Farmers are urging MPs to avoid a no-deal Brexit, reports the News Letter.

The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) and farmers' representatives from England, Scotland and Wales have written to every MP ahead of the Commons vote on the Brexit deal.

The unions say MPs need to "recognise the severe impact no deal will have".

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph leads with a different Brexit line. It reports that DUP leader Arlene Foster hit out at the Secretary of State for "border scaremongering".

Karen Bradley told the Cabinet on Wednesday that a border poll would be more likely if there is a no-deal Brexit.

On Wednesday night, Mrs Foster said the DUP's opposition to the backstop remained firm.

Image caption Arlene Foster said she does not believe NI is heading towards a "disastrous no-deal situation"

"We would prefer if the backstop disappeared, what we've been presented with is a narrative and doesn't add anything," Mrs Foster told BBC Newsline.

She accused the prime minister of continuing to "waste time" and said it was disappointing it had taken other parties at Westminster so long to start calling for an alternative to the government's withdrawal agreement.

"We told Theresa May to stop wasting time last November, she is still not listening and she is going to put a plan to parliament that is dead," she said.

'Cancer treatment concerns'

A third of cancer patients are not being treated quickly enough according to health chiefs, reports the the Daily Mirror.

Only 62% of people given and "urgent referral" are being treated within 62 days. The figure falls to 27% for patients with gynaecological tumours.

Roisin Foster, chief executive of Cancer Focus NI, told the newspaper that the "continuing failure to meet targets for cancer treatment is of major concern".

The Irish News leads with a tragic story about a vulnerable man who died after he was encouraged to take drugs in a west Belfast bar.

Antoin Martin, 27, had a plate in his head after sustaining life-changing injuries as a five-year-old, died after he was given drugs by strangers on Saturday, his family say.