Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Sea swimmer Deirdre McShane 'had zest for life'

Ballycastle beach Image copyright Pacemaker

The death of a swimmer at Ballycastle beach in County Antrim dominates the front pages of Tuesday's Northern Ireland newspapers.

Deirdre McShane, a midwife and a mother of two, was one of two swimmers who got into difficulty in the sea on Monday.

The papers report that the women were among a group of regular sea swimmers in the area.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with an account of the tragedy by eyewitness Aine Paterson.

She had been walking on the beach, told the paper the sea was so dangerous she feared she could also have been taken.

She said she dragged one of the women from the rough water but was unable to save Ms McShane.

"The adrenaline kicked in - I ran into the sea after dialling 999," she tells the paper.

'Sea swim was her regular thing'

The Daily Mirror also leads with the story of Ms McShane and reports that she "died doing what she loved".

Ms McShane's cousin Cara McShane told the News Letter her relative was a strong and experienced swimmer who was unlikely to have taken unnecessary risks.

"She had a real zest for life," she said.

"This daily swim would have been a regular thing in the past few years with a group of other women."

MLA 'up for cancer fight'

The Irish News leads with the story of the Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann's diagnosis with advanced prostate cancer.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Fra McCann represents West Belfast in the Northern Ireland Assembly

He told the paper he was "up for the fight" against incurable cancer.

He said he was diagnosed two weeks ago after receiving emergency treatment for kidney problems.

Mr McCann was first elected to Belfast City Council in 1987 and has been an MLA since 2003.

School places request after 'baby boom'

The Irish News also runs a story about extra school places being sought to meet unprecedented demand.

Seven schools in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area received 151 extra places in September due to a spike in the birth rate.

The paper reports that Bangor Grammar School and Strangford Integrated College are seeking a permanent rise as the population in the council area is projected to continue to rise until 2031.

Schoolboy's tribute to teacher

The Belfast Telegraph carries the inspiring story of a County Tyrone head boy who created a calendar in memory of a popular English teacher who died from cancer.

Jamie Harkin from Drumragh Integrated College said he created the 366 Pockets of Positivity in tribute to Graham Peters who "absolutely loved quotes".

In the News Letter, another Christmas tree row has emerged just days after Newry Mourne and Down Council resolved complaints about the "worst Christmas tree in Northern Ireland".

Last week the council erected a replacement tree in Kilkeel after criticism over a poorly lit one in the town.

But now a councillor has claimed an Orange Order lodge had to step in to provide a festive tree for Spa outside Ballynahinch after the hamlet "fell foul" of the council's tree policy.