Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Venezuela trip scrutiny and a love scam

Presentational white space
Daily Mirror NI Image copyright Daily Mirror NI
Presentational white space
News Letter Image copyright News Letter
Presentational white space

A controversial trip to Venezuela, gridlock traffic jams and a Valentine's scam are across Wednesday's front pages.

We will start with the News Letter, which details pressures on Sinn Féin, following trips by two of its MPs to Venezuela.

The paper says the journeys Chris Hazzard and Mickey Brady took in 2017 and 2018 "were paid for at least in part with Venezuelan money, but not registered with Westminster".

DUP MP Gregory Campbell told the commons on Tuesday that he had written to the parliamentary watchdog asking for an investigation into the trips.

The paper reports the SDLP has also criticised Sinn Féin, after MLA Conor Murphy and Sinn Féin general secretary Dawn Doyle attended the reinstatement ceremony of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro last month.

Mr Maduro has faced criticism after growing poverty and violence in his country.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Pat Ward, 30, was found dead in an alleyway in Clogher

The Irish News leads with further details of the murder of Pat Ward in Clogher, County Tyrone on Saturday.

The paper explains that CCTV footage shows a dark figure dragging Mr Ward's body along a residential street to the alleyway where his body was found.

Mr Ward is said to appear to still be alive at the time the footage was recorded early on Saturday morning.

On Tuesday night, a man and a woman were charged with murder, after having been arrested on Saturday.

The pair are due to appear before Dungannon Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption Derry Girls centres on 16-year-old Erin Quinn (centre) and her friends growing up in the city

The Irish News also features the triumph over the trailer for the second series of Derry Girls which was released on social media on Tuesday.

The paper reports that fans said that the trailer "looks and sounds as epic and series one".

Nicola Coughlan who plays Clare in the popular series tweeted "series 2 is so magic and I'm so proud of it and excited".

Channel 4 is yet to reveal when the second series will be screened.

Image caption Inrix estimates that Belfast traffic jams cost drivers more than £141m in time lost and wages last year.

Belfast's drivers are spending a week of the year in gridlock, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

The newspaper reports that city motorists also lost 190 hours to congestion in 2018, coming only second to London.

According to the newly released figures from transport analyst INRIX, traffic jams cost drivers more than £141m in time lost and wages last year.

The Belfast Telegraph also says the city was ranked as the 11th most congested city in the UK.

Image copyright Getty Images

And finally, does love really hurt?

The Mirror leads with Valentines heartbreak, after two women lost more than £100,000 in an online "love" scam over the last fortnight.

They had been befriended by men online who duped them into sending money.

In one of the cases, the scammer said he was in the US Army and was being held by authorities in Africa and needed money to get out, resulting in one of the women sending him £65,000.

The second report involved a woman who was talking online to a man who claimed he was an engineer living in the USA.

They had been in touch since November and the man eventually asked the woman for money. She believed his story and sent him £40,000.

The PSNI issued warning on Tuesday, with Ch Super Simon Walls saying the scams "illustrate how scammers are happy to take advantage of people's vulnerability and good faith".

More on this story