Northern Ireland

Weekly paper review: A 'life-saving' trip and new data centre

front page Newry reporter Wednesday 20 February 2019 Image copyright Newry Reporter
Derry Journal front page Friday 22 February 2019 Image copyright Derry Journal
front page Larne Time Thursday 21 February 2019 Image copyright Larne Times
front page Lurgan Mail Thursday 22 February 2019 Image copyright Lurgan Mail

A 'life-saving' journey, a new data centre in Londonderry and Fermanagh's new police commander are making the headlines in the local papers.

This week's Newry Reporter says that a six-year-old boy with a rare disease will travel to the US in March for potentially life-saving treatment.

Alfie Pentony suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic condition that leads to the progressive deterioration of the muscles.

The paper says his parents were told on Tuesday that US tests on their son will begin in the next four weeks.

Alfie's tests will determine whether he can go on to the next stage of treatment, which, if successful, could halt the deterioration of his muscles.

The family has so far raised £70,000 for costs but require up to £200,000.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Pat Jennings has backed a multi-million pound sports hub in Newry

Meanwhile, former Northern Ireland goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings has backed a multi-million pound development at Jennings Park in the city.

It would see a sports hub dedicated to football, rugby, GAA and other sports at the grounds that bear his name.

'Best possible match'

A Glengormley man's appeal for people to donate blood stem cells to a cancer charity features in the Larne Times.

Scott Wallace discovered his donated cells had gone to a 44-year-old man in America, whose transplant has been deemed a success.

Scott donated the stem cells through bone marrow collection.

"It's hard to describe how you feel when you're being told that someone else needs this donation and you're the best possible match," he says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Glengormley man Scott Wallace has appealed for other people to donate blood stem cells

"I don't know how anyone can say no to that."

The Times also says that hundreds of campaigners gathered at Brown's Bay in Islandmagee last weekend to oppose planned underground gas storage caverns.

The caverns would be capable of storing 450 million cubic metres of gas in Permian salt beds in Larne Lough.

Policing the border

Brexit is never far from the news these days, especially in border area, and the Fermanagh Herald features assurances from the area's new police commander that the PSNI is ready for whatever happens on 29 March.

Supt Clive Beatty says that since the Brexit vote the PSNI's planning and preparation has been "like any other operation of that gravity".

"We are planning every day and we plan for every eventuality, from nothing happening right through to multiple protests along all 310 miles of the border," he says.

Image caption Police in Fermanagh say they are prepared foe all eventualities at the border post Brexit

On the future of cross-border policing co-operation, he says: "Every police officer wants it to continue and there is no suggestion that it is not going to continue."

Meanwhile, the new Bishop of Clogher Larry Duffy says that addressing declining priest numbers will be a priority.

Bishop Duffy says he intends to invite lay people to perform funeral duties as part of efforts to tackle the problem.

The Herald says it comes at a time when three parishes in the diocese have no priests.

'Pleasant and hardworking'

"Heartbreak at sudden passing of youngster" is the headline on the front page of the Lurgan Mail.

The paper reports that 11-year-old Maddy-Leigh Harbinson died suddenly at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The pupil at Lismore Comprehensive was described as a "pleasant, quiet and hardworking student".

"She raised £200 for charity last term in aid of Multiple Sclerosis," school principal Fiona Kane told the paper.

"Our sympathy and condolences are with the Harbinson family and Maddy-Leigh's friends at this difficult time," she added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The rise is expected to cost householders an extra 74p per month

In other news, the Mail reports that rates are to rise in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council by 1.96%.

The rise is expected to cost householders an extra 74p per month.

'Ideal site'

Meanwhile in Derry, a new major flagship data centre is being planned with a second 'twin' facility also to be built in Donegal.

The Derry Journal reports that preparation work has begun at the Foyle Innovation Park next to Coolkeeragh Power station.

The centre will be used to house the computer systems for public sector groups, businesses and orther organisations.

It is being developed by the firm Atlantic Hub. Its managing director Brian Doherty told the paper that "the site is ideal".

"We have invested, to date, a large seven-figure sum," he added, claiming that would increase further as the project continues.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The garden waste will be used by the council for composting

Meanwhile, the Maiden City is also set for a roll-out of green bins.

The Journal reports that select areas of the city will have fortnightly collections which should see 1,521 tonnes of waste being diverted from landfill.

The garden waste will instead be used by the council for composting.