Northern Ireland

NI newspaper headlines: Mountain deaths and train delays

Front page of the Daily Mirror on Monday Image copyright Daily Mirror
Image caption Front page of the Daily Mirror on Monday

The deaths of two men after separate falls in the Mourne Mountains in County Down dominate the front pages of the daily newspapers on Monday.

The first man fell on Wee Binnian mountain shortly before midday on Sunday, while the second fell about an hour later as he walked on Slieve Commedagh.

Another man was rescued from the mountains with a suspected broken ankle.

The Daily Mirror reports that strong winds had lashed the range of mountains and that the victims had fallen while walking.

The Met Office said gusts were close to gale force in some areas, hitting about 48mph.

Elsewhere, loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson features on a number of the front pages, as he has been asked by a coroner investigating the Kingsmills massacre to hand over files he claims police have unlawfully seized.

The Irish News, News Letter and Belfast Telegraph report that the Coroners' Service has written to Mr Bryson days before he is due in the High Court in Belfast challenging whether officers had the right to take files he contends are covered by journalistic privilege.

The News Letter reports that in the judicial review hearing on Wednesday, Mr Bryson will seek to challenge the legality of the warrant used by the PSNI to seize the material.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson features in a number of the newspapers

It says the PSNI was executing the warrant on behalf of the Security Industry Authority (SIA). In relation to Mr Bryson's claims, the PSNI said it would not comment on named individuals. It said the SIA had been contacted for comment.

The Belfast Telegraph also reports that the mother of a severely disabled County Tyrone teenager has said she is "shocked and disgusted at the lack of compassion" after her daughter's Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim was rejected.

Talitha Grace McClenahan, 17, lives with her family outside Fintona and was born with Down's Syndrome and a range of other conditions.

Her mother, Deborah, who is a full-time carer for her daughter, said Talitha's Disability Living Allowance had been stopped and her PIP claim refused.

The Department for Communities said that while it could not comment on individual cases, the department and Capita, who deliver the PIP assessment service, "will look into the concerns raised and get in touch with the family".

"If after review a person continues to disagree with the department's decision not to award PIP, there is then an opportunity to appeal to an independent tribunal," it added.

Train delays are a topic of discussion in the Irish News as they report that Enterprise passengers have seen more than 4,000 delays on the Belfast to Dublin rail service in the past three years.

It says that on more than 60 occasions, the stoppages lasted more than an hour, and on four journeys "stretched beyond two hours".

Image copyright Translink
Image caption Delays on the Belfast to Dublin rail service make the headlines in the Irish News

Door faults caused more than 19 hours of delays, with security alerts resulting in stoppages on more than 50 occasions.

The number of stoppages has fallen, with 1,760 recorded in 2016, a further 1,117 in 2017, and 980 recorded for the January to mid-November period of 2018.

Translink said 99.5% of Enterprise trains operated as planned, 90% arrive within 10 minutes of the published time and the number of delays has "steadily reduced".

Meanwhile, a doctor's warning over the consumption of drugs by teenagers makes the headlines in the Daily Mirror.

Dr Aisling Diamond, an Emergency Department consultant at the Mater Hospital in Belfast has said children as young as 15 are arriving unconscious to hospitals.

"Kids used to take a bottle of cider to push the boundaries, now they are taking cocaine and ecstasy," she said.

"The age is falling and falling.

"My perception is that in this country people don't realise how big an issue this is."