Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: 'Huge rise in demand' at NI soup kitchen

News Letter Image copyright News Letter

A rise in demand at a Belfast soup kitchen and a £250,000 payout to a woman solicitor are among the stories in Tuesday's papers.

The Irish News says that a soup kitchen on Belfast's Donegall Street has seen demand for its service increase ten-fold since it opened two years ago.

St Patrick's Soup Kitchen initially served an average of 20 meals each weekend.

However, two years on, it dishes out almost 250.

Its operators say they may open some weekdays during the summer to ensure children are fed while schools are closed.

They are also considering a drop-in facility from 23:30 until 07:00 because demand for emergency beds in the city is so high.

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Image caption A Belfast soup kitchen says it has seen a huge rise in demand

The kitchen has 50 volunteers and also operates a food bank and clothes bank.

In its lead story, the Belfast Telegraph reports that one of Northern Ireland's best-known legal firms has been ordered to pay more than £250,000 to a solicitor who was paid less than her male colleagues.

Margaret Peggy Mercer took a case against Belfast-based commercial law company C&H Jefferson , which has since merged with multi-national firm DWF.

A tribunal heard that Mrs Mercer had been performing equal work to comparative colleagues but was denied the same pay as them.

It found that she was doing the same work as those colleagues, going back six years to June 2009.

The News Letter's front page reports on calls for the tax collected from frozen Libyan assets to be used to compensate victims of IRA attacks.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Libyan-supplied Semtex was used in many IRA attacks, such as the Harrods bombing of 1983

The call, from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, has been backed by Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey.

"The fact that the Treasury has been raking it in while victims have been sitting at a standstill will be found by quite a few people to be disgusting," Lord Empey said.

"Ministers must have known about this for some time, while telling victims they could not do this or that."

That story is also covered inside the Daily Mirror.

It quotes the chair of the NI Affairs Committee, MP Simon Hoare, who says there is a "moral imperative" for the money to be used to compensate victims.

Staying on political matters, the Belfast Telegraph says that Sinn Féin has declared several overseas trips after a Parliamentary watchdog began investigating visits to Venezuela by two of its MPs.

The party's Chris Hazzard and Mickey Brady made unregistered trips to the South American country in 2017 and 2018, the paper says.

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Image caption Sinn Féin MPs' trips to Nicolas Maduro's Venezuela prompted an investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

After the DUP's Gregory Campbell called on the the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to investigate, the paper says Sinn Féin registered 20 trips by its MPs, some going back three years.

They included visits to China, Colombia and the US.

The paper also says that DUP MP Jim Shannon is to be investigated by the parliamentary spending watchdog for the second time in three years.

Tributes to an 11-year-old County Armagh boy who died from cancer feature in the News Letter.

Jack Roycroft, from Lurgan, died on Saturday with his family by his side.

The paper says he told his loved ones they had nothing to worry about as he was going to "the best place ever".

His uncle, Timothy Gray, said Jack "just loved life. He fought a hard battle".

Finally, The Irish News reports on a "fantastic conservation success story" in an unlikely setting.

It says the protected peregrine falcon is thriving in a County Tyrone quarry.

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Image caption Fifty peregrine falcons have been raised at the site of Acheson and Glover in Fivemiletown in a 23-year period

Fifty of the birds have been raised at the site of Acheson and Glover in Fivemiletown in a 23-year period.

Three new chicks were born last year to the "Fivemiletown falcon pair" at the site.

The Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group says the site has been "pivotal in the recovery of the species" in the Greater Lough Erne region.