Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Smoking claim apology and policing bill ruling

Front page of the Daily Mirror on Tuesday Image copyright Daily Mirror
Image caption Front page of the Daily Mirror on Tuesday
Front page of the News Letter on Tuesday Image copyright News Letter
Image caption Front page of the News Letter on Tuesday

'Left Fuming' is the headline on the front page of the Daily Mirror, as it reports that a council has had to pay a non-smoker compensation after threatening to fine him for lighting up in his work van.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council took Keith Dougherty to court when he refused to back down after falsely being accused of smoking in the vehicle.

After more than a year fighting the case, Mr Dougherty has now received an apology from the council and been awarded £500 compensation for lost earnings.

Elsewhere, the Irish News reports that a council has warned it may prosecute an 85-year-old woman from Randalstown over an Irish language street sign on her property.

The pensioner from the Ashdale estate received a letter from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council last week.

The council claims the sign was erected without planning consent and has ordered it to be removed within a week.

The woman's granddaughter told the newspaper that she does not believe the sign breaches planning regulations.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Keith Dougherty was falsely accused of smoking

Councils appear to be a theme on the front pages, with the Belfast Telegraph featuring a new report that's revealed "sick leave at Northern Ireland's councils is the worst in the UK".

The newspaper says the average employee is missing for nearly 15 days and that the lack of progress in addressing absence rates will now be investigated by the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

It's one of the key issues in the report, published by local government auditor Pamela McCreedy, which is also covered in the Irish News and the Mirror.

The report also notes that spending on agency staff has totalled almost £26m in a year, with £38.8m being spent on severance payments over a four-year period.

PSNI's holiday pay bill

The death of a woman who was rescued from a submerged car in Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, on Saturday night features in the News Letter, as well as a number of the other papers.

The woman, who was in her 50s, was brought to hospital following the incident, but died on Monday.

The News Letter reports that various public representatives have expressed their sympathy with the woman's family.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Appeal court judges held that holiday pay should be calculated on the basis of actual annual working days

The newspaper also reports that the Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing a £40m bill after losing a court challenge over holiday pay.

The class action was brought by a group representing more than 3,700 police officers and civilian staff.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld a 2018 tribunal finding that they are owed money for a shortfall in holiday pay dating back 20 years.

Finally, over two pages, the Belfast Telegraph remembers the 25th anniversary of the Loughinisland killings.

Six Catholic men were shot dead by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in the 1994 attack on the Heights Bar.

Former South Down MP and SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie said it was wrong that families of the victims are still waiting for justice.

She said all six men who died were decent people who embodied everything their killers did not.

"The feelings of grief and disbelief were overwhelming, but the community refused to let it create divisions," she added.