Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Hotel crush concerns and licence fee anger

Front page of the Daily Mirror on Wednesday Image copyright Daily Mirror
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Front page of the News Letter Image copyright News Letter
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The Daily Mirror leads off with a response to the BBC announcing it would end free TV licences for up to 3.7m pensioners.

Since the end of 2018, the newspaper has carried a campaign to save TV licences for the over-75s.

The inside of Wednesday's edition includes a coupon its readers are encouraged to fill out and return as a show of support.

The main story details how free TV licences were jeopardised back in 2015 when the new BBC Charter agreed the state broadcaster would cover the cost of the benefit.

TV licence concerns are also the lead story for Wednesday's News Letter.

The newspaper has spoken to a number of service users at Age NI's Anna House Day Centre in Dunmurry, with some older people expressing concerns at having to meet the cost of the £154.50 licence.

Service user, 85-year-old Anna Gowdy, tells the paper she does not receive pension credit and would not qualify for a free licence.

"I live on my own and I rely on the TV. It is a source of companionship - the noise keeps the loneliness at bay. I'm afraid I might have to forgo my television," she says.

The Irish News front page focuses on the events leading up to the crush which killed three teenagers at the Greenvale Hotel in County Tyrone.

Morgan Barnard, 17, Lauren Bullock, 17, and Connor Currie, 16, died following the incident on 17 March.

Image copyright Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading/Family/Edendork GAC
Image caption Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie, died after the incident

It carries the claim that issues about the venue were raised with police dating back to 2013.

The paper says a number of details about what happened on the night have been revealed through meetings with the parents of the teenagers killed.

The Police Ombudsman said its investigation into the "initial police actions at the scene is ongoing".

It added that it could not comment about "the nature of that investigation except to say that all reasonable lines of enquiry in relation to the police response will be pursued".

A spokesman for the PSNI said a police ombudsman investigation was ongoing and "it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time".

Mid Ulster District Council also said it would be inappropriate to comment on the story while the investigation was ongoing.

The Belfast Telegraph front page focuses on a doctor from Northern Ireland who has been charged with misconduct by the General Medical Council in relation to a number of alcohol-related incidents.