Mike Nesbitt: UUP leader proves he still has an eye for a headline

Mike Nesbitt
Image caption Mike Nesbitt's rallying cry of 'let battle commence' ensures a change of the Stormont political game

As a former TV presenter, Mike Nesbitt has a penchant for grabbing a headline.

Last summer, he pulled out of the Stormont Executive when Peter Robinson was away, initially wrong footing the DUP as it tried to respond to allegations that Provisional IRA members were involved in the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

When Peter Robinson returned, he had to engage in some unpopular tactics, such as the DUP's rolling ministerial resignations, to buy time for Stormont.

However, his successor Arlene Foster reaped the dividend in the assembly election, by maintaining her party's dominance.

The DUP has more than a two to one advantage over the Ulster Unionists.

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Gerry Adams and the 'N-word'

Gerry Adams
Image caption Gerry Adams apologised for using the 'N-word' admitting it was "inappropriate" but stood by "the context and main point of my tweet which were the parallels between people in struggle"

The Northern Ireland Assembly election campaign had been looking dangerously anodyne, especially when contrasted with the high octane row about anti-Semitism within the British Labour Party. Then Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams decided to go to the movies.

The angry responses to Mr Adams' tweet about the film "Django Unchained" and his subsequent apology for his "ironic" use of the N-word have been well documented elsewhere.

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NI Assembly election: Hustings events remain key part of campaign

Jim Wells
Image caption In March the former DUP health minister Jim Wells told the BBC his party was going to avoid election hustings during this campaign

Back in March the former DUP health minister Jim Wells told the BBC his party was going to avoid election hustings during this campaign.

It is easy to understand why Mr Wells took that view, given the furore over the controversial comments he made during a discussion of same sex marriage at a hustings event before last year's Westminster election.

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NI Assembly election: Education emerges as key issue

Mike Nesbitt Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said if his party returns to the power sharing executive they want to take the education department

I sat down to write a blog about how education had become a theme during the second full week of the Stormont campaign.

But instead another E word kept coming into my head - Europe. Nothing to do with the June Brexit referendum, but one of those bizarre encounters you sometimes have on the election trail.

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NI assembly election: Tax and money pledges in early stages of campaign

Polling station Image copyright ace66
Image caption The assembly election campaign is well under way, with voters going to the polls on 5 May

The assembly election campaign began with the DUP promising those who reach their 100th birthday at the time of Northern Ireland's centenary in 2021 £1,000.

Eight days on, the SDLP was pledging to give newborn babies £250 in what looked like a regional version of Gordon Brown's now defunct Child Trust Fund.

Read full article NI assembly election: Tax and money pledges in early stages of campaign

Purdah and doling out the pre-election goodies

Image caption The Northern Ireland Assembly hosted its final debates last week, but the Stormont term is not yet officially over and the period known as purdah has not yet begun

More cash for integrated and shared education, resources freed up for cancer treatment and primary health care as well as Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers welcoming another job announcement.

A cynic might say these are the kind of signs which tell voters an election cannot be far away.

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NI Assembly: Time for reflection as Stormont hosts final proceedings before election

Parliament Buildings at Stormont
Image caption Stormont has had its last day of proceedings before the 2016 Assembly Election

The assembly doesn't dissolve officially for the next election campaign until the end of this month.

However, MLAs are holding their Easter break between now and then.

Read full article NI Assembly: Time for reflection as Stormont hosts final proceedings before election

Electoral equation changes for shrinking Stormont

Parliament Buildings at Stormont
Image caption Northern Ireland looks to be on course for an 85-member assembly in 2021

Earlier this week, MLAs passed legislation that will reduce their numbers to five per constituency.

But as the official report of their debate shows, they were somewhat in the dark about what this would mean for the future overall size of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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Northern Ireland Assembly and Brexit campaign issues overlap

David Cameron

David Cameron has brushed aside objections from Stormont, Edinburgh and Cardiff and pushed ahead with the EU referendum seven weeks after the devolved elections.

The prime minister insists that voters will be able to focus on their local issues and familiar parties before turning their minds to "remain" or "leave".

Read full article Northern Ireland Assembly and Brexit campaign issues overlap

MLAs vote on sensitive issue of abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality

MLAs debated abortion law reform at Stormont on Wednesday night
Image caption MLAs debated abortion law reform at Stormont on late into Wednesday night

The clock in the Stormont Great Hall was approaching midnight as MLAs cast their votes on the sensitive issue of abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

It has been in the headlines since Sarah Ewart took the brave decision to reveal her traumatic story, explaining how she felt she had no option but to travel to England for a termination after doctors said her unborn baby could not survive.

Read full article MLAs vote on sensitive issue of abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality