Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: May's crucial vote and rise in alcohol deaths

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
Image caption The front page of the Daily Mirror on Thursday
Front page of the News Letter on Thursday Image copyright The News Letter
Image caption Front page of the News Letter on Thursday

The latest twists and turns of Brexit again feature on many of the front pages of the daily newspapers on Thursday.

The Belfast Telegraph reports DUP leader Arlene Foster's comments that she had a "forthright and frank discussion" with Theresa May after the party's votes helped the prime minister win a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons.

Mrs Foster said she had told Mrs May to go "back to Brussels to secure a better deal" for securing the UK's exit from the EU.

DUP To Rescue For May is the main headline in the News Letter, as it highlights how the votes of the 10 DUP MPs were crucial in backing Mrs May.

The paper also notes DUP MP Jim Shannon's remarks that he believes his party would be open to considering a time-limited backstop in relation to the Irish border, providing the arrangement expired before the end of the current parliamentary term in 2022.

No Deal Is Real is the headline across the front of The Irish News as it says the Irish government has started implementing plans for a no-deal Brexit and that the threat of a hard border is "looming increasingly large".

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar said a "no-deal scenario would have a deeply negative impact on jobs and the economy" and "would not protect the peace in Northern Ireland".

Image copyright The Fleck family
Image caption Kayden Fleck died after falling into a river in Ballymena last year

The Daily Mirror's front page features an interview with the parents of five-year-old Kayden Fleck who died after falling into a river in Ballymena in February last year.

Leanne and Darrel Fleck are pictured with new baby daughter, Ellianna, who is just seven weeks old.

"We didn't know she was coming," Leanne said.

"But about three weeks after we lost Kayden, through all the pain and darkness of that time, we discovered I was pregnant."

Elsewhere, a number of the newspapers report that the number of alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland has risen by 30% in the past decade.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency said 303 of the 16,036 deaths registered in Northern Ireland in 2017 were due to alcohol-related causes.

Of the 303 deaths, 212 were men, with the largest number of deaths in people aged between 45 and 54.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There has been a rise in alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland, according to new figures

In a separate story, it is reported that a six-year-old County Londonderry boy who sustained life-changing injuries during birth is to be awarded almost £5m in damages.

The child, who cannot be identified, developed severe cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen to the brain during his delivery. He was born at Altnagelvin Hospital in 2012.

The Western Health Trust said it deeply regretted that the boy's care at birth "fell below acceptable standards".

Image caption A six-year-old boy who sustained life-changing injuries during his birth at Altnagelvin Hospital is to be awarded almost £5m in damages

Images from the funerals of the two men who died after separate falls in the Mourne Mountains in County Down on Sunday are on the front pages of the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News.

Seán Byrne, from Camlough in County Armagh, and Robbie Robinson, from Banbridge in County Down, died on Wee Binnian and Slieve Commedagh.

Finally, the Belfast Telegraph reports that a County Fermanagh church is rejoicing following the safe return of valuable parish records that were stolen two months ago and dumped in a bog across the border.

The baptism, death and marriage documents were contained in a safe taken from the Church of Ireland rectory in Derrylin last November.

They were found just before Christmas by a man walking his dog in bog land between counties Offaly and Kildare.

Rev Alastair Donaldson, the rector of Kinawley and Holy Trinity Parish Church in Derrylin, described the return of the records as a "mini Christmas miracle".