Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Classroom violence and a lawyer's drunken rant

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

Violence in Northern Ireland's classrooms is highlighted in the daily newspapers on Friday, with the Belfast Telegraph revealing a teacher was threatened by a seven-year-old pupil who said he would "stab her pregnant belly".

The case emerged as the Ulster Teachers' Union (UTU) said it is to work with the PSNI to address a rise in violent incidents in schools.

A recent survey by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions indicated one in five school staff in NI is assaulted weekly, the paper says.

UTU deputy general secretary, Jacquie White is quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying it welcomed the invite by the PSNI to "halt the obscene levels of violence which teachers encounter daily".

She said that in another incident a senior teacher "was pinned to a wall studded with coat hooks by a P7 boy simply because he got in his way".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Ulster Teachers' Union (UTU) said it is to work with the PSNI to address a rise in violent incidents in schools

In a separate story on the front page of the Irish News, a dissident republican threat against the directors of 11 vehicle recovery firms working for the PSNI is described as "appalling".

It says the death threats came, as the group, sometimes referred to as the New IRA, said it planted an incendiary device at one of the companies named, last weekend.

Six vehicles were damaged at Creighton's recovery garage in the Finaghy area of south Belfast during the attack in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Elsewhere, the newspaper says the Prison Service has apologised to a Belfast solicitor after he was refused entry to Maghaberry Prison as he would not remove a fáinne.

Human rights lawyer Jim McGinnis was told to remove the pin, which is worn by Irish language speakers, while going through security searches at the jail on Tuesday.

The Prison Service has apologised in writing, after Mr McGinnis initiated judicial review proceedings in the High Court to obtain a declaration that the decision was unlawful.

Image caption Jim McGinnis said he was refused entry to Maghaberry Prison as he would not remove a fáinne

A different Belfast lawyer makes the headlines in a number of the other newspapers, including the front page of the Daily Mirror.

Plane Wrong is the headline in the paper after Simone Burns, 50, whose address is First Avenue, Hove, was jailed for six months for a foul-mouthed drunken rant on a long-haul flight from India to England.

The court heard that Burns, who is also known as Simone O'Broin, spat at a flight attendant after she was refused alcohol.

She also made racist comments to staff and claimed cabin crew would be shot.

A defence lawyer said Burns' actions were due to a "mixture of altitude, the consumption of drink and anxiety" and the fact she was likely to miss the funeral of an uncle. He said she was "totally ashamed of her behaviour".

The News Letter leads with a historian's claims that the Republic of Ireland between 1969 and 1980 was "willingly or unwillingly" an "engine for the IRA".

Gearóid Ó Faoleán, says he intends to bring balance to discussions focusing on the role of the British state, with his new book 'A Broad Church'.

He says he has gathered evidence of active support for the IRA from various sources in the Republic during research for his PhD.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The house sparrow was the most frequently sighted bird in NI, according to the RSPB study

On a lighter note, the paper reveals many of Northern Ireland's most common bird species are being spotted less frequently, according to an annual survey by the RSPB.

In NI and across the UK, the house sparrow was the most frequently sighted bird, followed by the starling, chaffinch, goldfinch and blue tit.

However in counties Armagh and Tyrone starlings were sighted most often and in Fermanagh the chaffinch held top spot.