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Neurologist leaves trust and Covid concerns

Dr Michael Watt

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Dr Michael Watt worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital as a neurologist

The Irish News reports on its front page that Dr Michael Watt, the doctor at the centre of Northern Ireland’s biggest ever patient recall, is no longer employed by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

In 2018, about 3,000 patients were recalled as part of an investigation into the work of Dr Watt at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

The newspaper says that although “restrictions” were placed on the consultant neurologist in 2017 which prevented him from seeing patients, he continued to be a fully-paid employee.

Dr Watt was suspended from practice last year following a hearing by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

The newspaper also reports that a victim of paedophile priest Malachy Finegan is taking legal action against Pope Francis and Catholic Church authorities in Ireland.

In 2018, the police set up a dedicated team to investigate the circumstances of child abuse carried out by Fr Finegan.

It followed a BBC Spotlight programme which included a number of allegations of abuse against Fr Finegan.

The former teacher, worked in St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1976.

The newspaper reports that one victim is taking legal action against the Diocese of Dromore, the Archdiocese of Armagh and the Bishop of Rome and Holy See.

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Pacemaker

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Fr Malachy Finegan was never questioned by police and died in 2002

The Belfast Telegraph leads with its own survey involving 27 of Northern Ireland’s 32 female MLAs.

It says of those who responded, seven (26%) said they had been sexually harassed during their political career at either council or assembly level.

It adds that 19 MLAs said sexist remarks had been made to their face during their work and 21 said they had experienced sexism or harassment online.

Elsewhere, the newspaper reports the remarks of virologist Dr Connor Bamford who claims Northern Ireland has “probably already tipped over the edge” into a second wave of Covid-19.

It says he also warned that Northern Ireland’s testing capacity does not appear to be adequate.

At the weekend, 398 new positive cases were recorded in Northern Ireland, with almost 1,000 in the past seven days.

The News Letter reports on its front page that the Stormont Health Committee chair has asked to speak with Health Minister Robin Swann.

Sinn Féin’s Colm Gildernew, says that investigations into the deaths of patients at two hospitals as a result of coronavirus must provide answers to the families of those who died.

On Friday, it was confirmed five more patients at Craigavon Area Hospital and Daisy Hill Hospital had died as a result of Covid-19 outbreaks.

The News Letter, as well as a number of the other newspapers, carries tributes to the former Belfast Lord Mayor David Cook who has died.

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David Cook was a founding member of the Alliance Party

Mr Cook, 77, became the first non-unionist Lord Mayor of Belfast in over a century when he took up the role in 1978.

He was a founding member of the Alliance Party and was elected to its central executive in 1971.

Alliance leader Naomi Long said she was “deeply saddened” by Mr Cook’s death.

“It is because of the vision of people like David Cook and all those who came together to form the Alliance Party that today’s society is able to opt for political representation genuinely focused on working for everyone,” she added.

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