NI paper review: Muckamore’s future and airlines’ ‘dirty Dublin tricks’ – BBC News

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NI paper review: Muckamore’s future and airlines’ ‘dirty Dublin tricks’ – BBC News

Aer LingusImage copyright
PA

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Aer Lingus has confirmed it will no longer be offering two routes at Belfast City Airport from next summer

The possible closure of Muckamore Abbey Hospital and Ryanair and Aer Lingus plans to pull out of Belfast are among Thursday’s lead stories.

The Irish News claims talks are under way about the future sustainability of Muckamore hospital, County Antrim, which caters for vulnerable adults with severe learning disabilities and mental health needs.

Allegations of ill treatment began to surface at Muckamore in November 2017 when it was revealed four staff members had been suspended.

Twenty eight member of staff have been suspended as a precautionary measure while police investigation into the allegations continue.

Following eight of those suspensions confirmed this week, The Irish News said there were now concerns the facility is to be “effectively wound down due to severe staff shortages”.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with Ryanair and Aer Lingus plans to pull out of Belfast, which are described by DUP MP Ian Paisley as “dirty Dublin tricks”.

The North Antrim MP said the move was an attack on Northern Ireland tourism business.

“It is absolutely scandalous. This is a failure by Tourism Ireland to support Northern Ireland’s airports,” he said.

“Tourism Ireland have to demonstrate what they are doing to attract these businesses back to Belfast airports.”

The News Letter continues the story about former market trader Billy Hampton, 82, who left £1.5 million to Sinn Féin, which is understood to be the largest ever known donation to a Northern Ireland political party.

It claims Sinn Féin wouldn’t talk to the reclusive English man after he made the will.

Earlier this week it emerged that Mr Hampton had left the money to hit back at the British establishment.

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News Letter

The News Letter claims that in 2000, three years after the will was made, Mr Hampton said Sinn Féin would not talk to him “for security reasons”.

‘One man only’

The Daily Mirror leads with the beginning of the murder trial in which John Patrick Miller, 48, denies killing his ex-girlfriends Charlotte Murray in 2012

Ms Murray’s body was never found but the paper reports that Dungannon Court heard the evidence points to “one man only”.

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Daily Mirror

It also runs the story about redundancy concerns for more than 100 staff at Belfast’s Grand Opera House.

The historic theatre is to close for 10 months for a multi-million pound restoration programme next January.

The Mirror reports that “119 roles are at risk”.

Meanwhile, ex-DUP minister Simon Hamilton tells the Belfast Telegraph that a no-deal Brexit could cause untold damage” to the local economy.

Mr Hamilton has recently taken a role as chief executive of Belfast Chamber.

In Brexit news, The Irish News carries an extensive report about the realities of no deal for Northern Ireland, while the News Letter says an “all Ireland agri zone” remains on the talks table.

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