Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Loughinisland 'myths' and a great escape

Mirror Image copyright Mirror
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The murders of six men by the Ulster Volunteer Force is the focus of the News Letter's front-page lead.

"Loughinisland police break 25-year silence," reads the headline.

The paper reports that former police officers are concerned that a number of "myths" surround the shootings.

One former detective is quoted as saying that he was used as "fodder" in a police ombudsman's investigation.

Six men - all Catholics- died in the 1994 attack. They were watching a World Cup match in The Heights bar on 18 June when gunmen burst in and shot them. Five others were wounded.

A subsequent report by the NI Police Ombudsman found there had been collusion between police and the loyalist gunmen.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Six men were shot dead as they watched a football match in a pub in Loughinisland in 1994

Now, the News Letter reports that former officers claim that the main thrust of the second investigation by the ombudsman was based on "an avalanche of bogus information" fed to bereaved families.

The News Letter promises a series of in-depth articles on Loughinisland over the next five days.

Image caption An investigation into the treatment of vulnerable patients is under way

The fall-out from the Muckamore Hospital abuse story is the lead in the Irish News, after a judge found that there was insufficient evidence to suspend seven nurses.

The nurses were among 19 health workers suspended following allegations of abuse against patients.

The paper quotes the father of one patient who claims the Belfast Health Trust's handling of the crisis has been "shambolic" and that the High Court ruling left him with "no confidence" in the trust.

The Irish News says Department of Health chiefs are "furious" about the court's ruling.

'Huge gift'

Inside, the paper reports on the story of an unusual gift from a Presbyterian church to a Catholic school.

A £40,000 organ which once graced Fortwilliam and Macrory church on the Antrim Road has now travelled down the street to St Malachy's College.

The paper says that after 133 years, the church closed its doors in October due to dwindling populations.

The gift of the organ was music to the ears of teachers at St Malachy's - it was "a huge generous gift" says David Strange from the school.

"They wanted to find a good home for it... It really is a gesture of good will across the community," he says.

Unionist "fury" takes front-page position in the Belfast Telegraph.

Image caption Gregory Campbell has urged the former prime ministers to "dial down the rhetoric"

The paper quotes local politicians reacting to claims by two former prime ministers, Tony Blair and John Major, that a no-deal Brexit would spark a return to violence.

"Fury as ex-PMs say no deal would destroy peace," reads the front-page headline. The strapline reads: "Unionists accuse Blair and Major of scaremongering."

The paper quotes DUP MP Gregory Campbell who urges the former prime ministers to "dial down the rhetoric" over the threat to peace.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The body of Pat Ward was found in Clogher at the weekend

The widow of a man who was murdered at the weekend has also given the Telegraph an interview.

The body of Pat Ward, 30, a father of four, was discovered in an alleyway in Clogher, County Tyrone, on Saturday.

His widow, Ellen, tells the paper she is "stuck in a nightmare".

"Due to this ordeal, my kids will grow up without a father and I will live the rest of my life without a husband," she says.

Image copyright CHANTAL BAXTER
Image caption The great escape? Chimps scale the wall at Belfast Zoo

But it is monkey business that plays a star role in the Mirror which proclaims that there should be "no more" of it.

Chimpanzees at the zoo took advantage of a fallen tree branch to make their own "great escape" on Saturday.

Their foray follows the disappearance of Amber, the red panda, who was gone for a night and found in a garden close to the zoo.

The Mirror says the zoo is under pressure to improve its security. Inside the headline writer just can't resist the puns, ignoring the fact that we're talking chimpanzees.

"Anger at gorillas in our midst.." reads the headline.

A series of photograph captions continue the theme with headings: Branching Out; Hang On; Chimanzeesy; King of the Swingers and Monkey See, Monkey Do.

The story quotes Alliance councillor Julian McGrath who says he is a little concerned at the general "frivolity" over the incident.