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Weekly paper review: 'Experienced killers' and a noisy dispute

By Niall Glynn

image copyrightAntrim Guardian
image copyrightUlster Gazette
image copyrightMourne Observer
image copyrightLondonderry Sentinel
image copyrightStrabane Chronicle
image copyrightFermanagh Herald

A noisy dispute between neighbours, "experienced killers" and harassment of a teacher all feature in Northern Ireland's regional papers this week.

The Ulster Gazette's front page focuses on a dispute between Markethill neighbours over the noise from Lambeg drums.

Mother-of-six Kelley Sterritt has appealed a noise abatement notice served on her by the local council after a complaint from a neighbour.

The paper quotes her neighbour saying he counted 50 drumming sessions in one 15-day period.

image captionLambeg drums are the source of a dispute over noise in County Armagh

He also expresses fears that the Sterritt family could develop a "super drum" capable of reaching 200 decibels.

However, Mrs Sterritt appealed the order, saying it was an attack on her culture and her family and that she had never received complaints in the past.

The paper also features an interview with Lord Kilclooney - formerly John Taylor.

As well as speaking about the key triumph of his career - the Good Friday peace agreement - he also discusses being in the Grand Hotel in Brighton when an IRA bomb exploded.

"I got up calmly and put on my suit, left the bedroom to be shocked to see the stairwell had vanished," he says.

image captionLord Kilclooney recalled the aftermath of the bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton

He says he then led "several dozen screaming Tories" down the external escape staircase.

In County Antrim, a family has been angered after their father's grave was covered in soil to accommodate a burial in an adjacent plot.

A woman, who did not want to be named, tells the Antrim Guardian that her sister was left in tears after she discovered that floral tributes had been moved from her father's memorial and boards and soil from another grave being dug had been placed on top.

She says Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council told her "this is how things are done" and apologised, but she says that is not enough

The paper says the council had not responded to a query about the matter at the time of going to press.

image copyrightAntrim Guardian
image captionRats have been causing trouble in parts of County Antrim

And for the Antrim Guardian it's a case of another week, another story about rats plaguing residents.

The paper has pictures of three of the rodents found in three different estates in the town - one of which, found in Ballycraigy really does qualify for the "rat as big as a cat" moniker.

One resident tells the paper he had to beat a rat to death to protect his pet Jack Russell as the rat "was at least as big" as the dog.

image copyrightPAcemaker
image captionWayne Boylan, 37, was killed in Warrenpoint last week

The "senseless and callous" murder of Warrenpoint man Wayne Boylan features on the front of the Mourne Observer.

Mr Boylan was shot dead on the Lower Dromore Road in the town on Friday 18 January and a woman in her 20s was critically injured.

Independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly tells the paper he is "no doubt that this was the work of experienced killers".

The paper also reports that police are trawling security camera footage after another reported suspicious approach to a child in Newcastle.

It says that a man in a car tried to engage a child in conversation as they made their way to St Mary's Primary School.

The Observer says it is the third such incident in the town since early December - the second also happened as an 11-year-old boy made his way to the same school.

The Londonderry Sentinel carries a warning that dissident republicans are planning more attacks after a bomb outside the city's court house at the weekend was followed by a spate of security alerts and hijackings.

image copyrightPACEMAKER
image captionA bomb exploded in a car outside Londonderry courthouse last weekend

The paper talks to former Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan, who says that the dissidents want to link their violence to historic anniversaries, like the centenary of the first Dáil (Irish parliament) and start of the Irish War of Independence.

Mr McQuillan estimates that about half of the dissidents are former Provisional IRA members and the rest are "new skin".

He says recent disorder in Derry was "quite clearly people trying to recruit and blood young people".

Elsewhere, the paper reports on the imminent return of a 112-year-old locomotive to the north west.

The No4 Meenglass, delivered by makers Nasmyth Wilson in 1907, had been getting a facelift in Whitehead, County Antrim, but is returning to Foyle Valley Railway Museum at the end of January.

Lottery winner loses case

In County Tyrone, a man who suffers from Crohn's disease and severe colitis tells the Strabane Chronicle that a Stormont welfare underspend of millions of pounds is "ridiculous".

Keith Dunleavy, 42, who has had his large intestine and rectum removed, says his disability payments have been cut from £560 a month to £88 and that was after he appealed the decision not to give him any benefits at all.

More than 60% of the £213m set aside by Stormont to soften the impact of welfare changes for claimants in the last two years has not been spent.

Mr Dunleavy tells the paper: "It's an absolute disaster to have my benefits cut so badly but to think there's money set aside that hasn't been spent, it would make you pure angry."

image captionMargaret Loughrey won £27m in the Euromillions lottery in 2013

The paper also reports on the conclusion of an unfair dismissal case taken against a Euromillions lottery winner.

Strabane woman Margaret Loughrey, who won £27m in 2013, has been ordered to pay £30,000 to former employee Patrick Breslin.

Jail for teacher harassment

The Fermanagh Herald reports on the three-month sentence imposed on a Trillick woman for a two-year campaign of abuse against a teacher.

A court was told the woman had carried out the campaign of harassment because her child had been categorised as special needs.

The teacher who was targeted was not part of the decision to categorise the child and the abuse on social media continued after the child had left the school to go to secondary school.

The court was told the woman was not willing to accept a community service order because she is in full-time employment.

The paper also features a shocking report delivered to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on poverty in the area.

It found that just over half the population in the council area is living in poverty - 25.1% in relative poverty and 25.1% in absolute poverty.

The worst affected areas were Roslea and the Devenish ward.