Northern Ireland

Weekly papers: Boat raised and an 'obscene' pay rise

Salvage Experts retrieve boat Image copyright UP AND ABOVE AERIAL MEDIA
Image caption Up and Above Aerial Media caught this fantastic view of the recovery of the sunken trawler in Ardglass

There is disgust in County Down over one of the "worst ever" incidents of fly tipping.

More than 200 tyres were dumped at Saintfield Livestock Mart last week, the Down Recorder reports.

Unfortunately the mart is to be used for a Christmas charity event this weekend.

Because the offending tyres were ditched on private land Newry, Mourne and Down Council is not permitted to remove them.

Local councillors are hoping CCTV will help police identify the culprit.

"It is disgusting," said event organiser Joan Cunningham, but the setback has not dampened her spirits and her event is still all systems go.

Image copyright Ciara Van Vogt
Image caption The trawler got into difficulty in October

Also in the paper - an impressive sight on the seas.

A fishing trawler which ran aground and sank off the Ardglass harbour has been raised from the seabed and taken to a Scottish port for inspection.

The NI fishery Harbour Authority says an investigation into the sinking will be carried out.

The trawler got into difficulty as it tried to offload its catch and a rescue operation was mounted.

Specialist lifting gear was used to winch the 272 tonne trawler.

No one was hurt and the five crew of the Dillon Owen, from County Cork, were rescued.

The boat succumbed to water a few days later.

The vessel was badly damaged and lost its catch of mackerel.

However, the paper the reports that gulls and other seabirds took advantage of the fish - It's an ill wind that blows nobody good.

Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle

Parking charges, or the lack of, have long been a bone of contention in the north coast.

In 2018 there were arguments over the potential introduction of car parking charges on beaches and resorts, the Coleraine Chronicle reports.

After divisions led to a walk-out at one meeting and a legal challenge, prompted by the initial decisions to implement tariffs, the proposals were shelved.

Councillors who are against the charges say that the public should have a chance to lobby councillors.

However those in favour make the point those paying parking charges in Coleraine are "subsidising free parking at the coast".

Now, it looks like the dispute will be reignited, with the paper reporting that a decision will be taken at the next council meeting.

Image copyright Geograph/Kenneth Allen

Delving into the paper and we find that neighbouring Portstewart is also not without its woes.

The paper reports that press have been barred from reporting discussions surrounding ownership of Portstewart Town Hall.

"Hall of Shame," reads the headline.

The paper says a council committee has been handed a report which indentifies a risk from the building to worshippers from next door's Star of the Sea Church.

The hall presents an "unacceptable safety risk," but it is a listed 1930s building and the cost of repairing it is rapidly rising.

Bookings for the town hall have been cancelled.

Does Seamus live here?

Moving west, the Impartial Reporter's front page is dominated by a spate of homes being robbed in County Fermanagh.

The paper reports that crime gangs from the Republic of Ireland continue to "blitz" homes in the run up to Christmas.

Image copyright Impartial Reporter

Nine burglaries were reported last weekend, with both the border region and towns targeted.

"These crime gangs will just knock the door and if no-one answers they will just break in", says Supt Clive Beatty.

"If someone comes to the door they will ask is this Johnny's house or does Seamus live here and claim they have the wrong house".

In more positive news, Enniskillen Royal Grammar School is getting a brand spanking new building.

The school was born out of Portora Royal School's amalgamation with Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School in 2016

However the old Portora building, the alma mater of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, will remain.

"The iconic front of the school and more or less everything behind the old building will be taken away and the new school will be built in that space just immediately behind," says Chairman of the Board of Governors Peter Little.

The hope is that it will be completed by 2024.

Image copyright Antrim Guardian

Money Money Money

What about a potential 81% pay rise?

The mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey has branded a proposal to bump up his salary as "obscene," the Antrim Guardian reports.

Under the new proposals, the Mayor's allowance would rise from £13,797 to £25,000.

But Councillor John Smyth, the current mayor says: "At a time when families across the borough are struggling to meet the financial demands of Christmas such a rise would be obscene."

The decision on what will happen has been deferred for a month.

'Selfless to a fault'

However the main story on the front page focuses on the death of a young mother, and a community effort to help her children.

Sandra Todd died last Thursday at her home. Her death came just three years after that of her husband Stephen.

Family and friends have rallied round to help the couple's three children, raising thousands for them.

Mrs Todd's friend Elaine Houston describes her late friend as "selfless to a fault".

"If friends need someone Sandra was the first there and the last to leave.

"Widowed with three children, she fought tirelessly to provide more love than even two parents could hope to give their children," she says.

Council hits a bogey?

Image copyright Getty Images

It's costing a council about £1,000 a day to maintain two golf courses, according to leaked figures - The Lurgan Mail says.

The paper reports that Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council paid almost £350,000 in running costs for Loughgall Golf Course near Portadown and Silverwood Golf Club near Lurgan across the 2018/19 financial year.

Both clubs are run by the council.

Several councillors expressed concern about the costs and called for a full audit of spending.

The paper says it asked the council for a response but did not get one.

Also in the paper - a heavenly host of angels have arrived in a parish church in Magheralin.

The pre-Christmas exhibition features four life-size angels for a major festival called Angels Among Us.

The angels are sculpted from a variety of media including glass, ceramics, metal and wood.

The exhibition explores angel stories in the bible and has been two years in the making.

Image copyright Ulster Herald

In the Ulster Herald, an inspirational man has been honoured.

Most of us have some cake for our birthday, maybe even a glass of fizz.

Shane McMahon, from Dromore, decided to mark his 32nd year by running through 32 counties on the island of Ireland.

The former Tyrone Minor and Dromore GAA player sustained a head injury which brought an end to a promising career in 2010, the paper says.

He had to learn to walk and talk again.

The County Tyrone man did the run to raise money for charity and get people talking about their mental health.

The paper reports that he returned home to a tumultuous welcome, 29 days after leaving Dromore and has been honoured with a council reception.

Well done Shane.

Also in the paper - there is "chaos" in Omagh. It's also down to revised traffic lane arrangements in the town, it has been claimed.

Councillors were told that many locals had been caught unaware by the changes and one councillor told the meeting he had been inundated with messages from local people concerned.

The paper says people are calling for more signage to avoid confusion.