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Summary

  1. Updates for Thursday 15 January 2015
  2. More updates from 07:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Ciaran McCauley and Dave Culbert

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

Ciaran McCauley

BBC News NI

That's us for today and thanks to all those who sent in photos. We'll be with you again from 07:00 on Friday with more news, sport, travel and weather.

In the meantime, Cecilia Daly

tweets that the winds are going to ease tonight but that it's set to turn colder. So best to wrap up in about eight to ten layers.

Men released

Three men arrested yesterday in connection with the murder of Brian McIlhagga in Ballymoney have been released unconditionally.

Damage done

Northern Ireland has had a battering from high winds today, and these pictures show just some of the damage.

Storm damage
BBC

Clockwise from left is the Shankill Leisure Centre in Belfast; an NIE team working on a fallen pole near Nutts Corner; and a marquee that collapsed at the Maze. Thanks to Aimee, Niall O'Lone and Sarah Lyness who sent them to our

BBC Newsline Facebook page.

Grievance payouts total £200,000:

Portadown Times

Portadown Times

reports that more than £200,000 a year has been spent by Craigavon Borough Council on dealing with "out of control staffing issues".

Craigavon Lakes and civil centre
Portadown Times

"There have been unnecessary tribunals and legal fees have run out of control," says UUP council member Arnold Hatch.

Archive: Dunlop wins at North West

Road racer Michael Dunlop has

signed with Yamaha for the upcoming season - apart from being a star on the road, he is also part of the famous Dunlop road racing family.

Michael Dunlop NW 200 2008
BBC

In 2008, Michael raced - and won - at the North West 200 just 48 hours after his father, Robert, was killed racing in the same event. You can watch the emotional moment in

our archive video.

Drive aware

If you're just about to hit the road for home after leaving work, it'd be best to check out the

Traffic Watch NI website - it has the latest on what roads are closed because of fallen trees or flooding.

32 new jobs at software firm

Belfast-based PathXL, a company that provides software to pathologists, is

creating 32 jobs over the next three years.

PathXL
Aaron McCracken/Harrisons 07778373486

2,400 without power

Northern Ireland Electricity

Emergency crews from Counties Fermanagh, Tyrone and Londonderry have joined the restoration process in the east of Northern Ireland.

Engineers and emergency crews have restored electricity to over 11,000 homes and businesses. Around 2,400 customers remain without power at 6pm.

BBC Newsline tonight

Cameraman Phil Hilditch getting ready to film an item on personal debt for

BBC Newsline - you can see it and much more, including coverage of the damage caused by today's storms, from 18:30.

BBC Newsline Thurs 15 January
BBC

Name shame?

With 26 councils merging into 11 larger councils in April, there were bound to be some rows - but just agreeing on a name is proving difficult for many of Northern Ireland's district authorities as

BBC News NI journalist Niall Glynn has been finding out.

Supercouncils
BBC

Dunlop signs for Yamaha

BBC Sport NI

Road racing star Michael Dunlop has

signed to ride for the official Yamaha racing team this season.

Michael Dunlop signs for Yamaha
BBC

Dunlop will compete on the new R1 Superbike at the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT. There'll be more on this story on

BBC Newsline at 18:30.

Low pressure

A Queen's University weather station has

tweeted that it has recorded one of its lowest ever pressures.

Road closure details

BBC NI Travel

The stormy weather means that many roads are blocked with trees or flooded - for full details of roads affected check out the

Traffic Watch NI website.

Power out, roads closed in Armagh

Gordon Adair

BBC News NI

In County Armagh, there has been disruption to power supplies and the main road between Armagh and Portadown has been closed for much of the day because of fallen electricity poles.

At least two lorries collided with the lines and pulled down more poles and transformers. A local primary school was affected and sent children home early after power was lost.

Hollywood calls

Newtownabbey Times

Newtownabbey filmmaker Michael Lennox is set to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in Hollywood after his film Boogaloo and Graham was nominated for an Oscar,

the Newtownabbey Times reports.

Ulster Orchestra to be saved?

Gareth Gordon

BBC News NI Political Correspondent

Sources say the executive is to give several million pounds to the Department of Rural Development for street lighting and also cash to help save the Ulster Orchestra.

Ulster Orchestra
BBC
The Ulster Orchestra employs 63 musicians and 17 staff

Power update

Northern Ireland Electricity

2,500 homes and businesses are still without electricity as of 17:00.

Executive agrees budget

The

Northern Ireland Executive has agreed a budget for 2015/2016, even though three parties - the UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party - voted against it.

Stormont
BBC

It passed with a majority of 9-4, and will be officially unveiled in the assembly on Monday.

Man killed by falling tree

A man has died after a tree fell on a van on the Hillsborough Road, Lisburn, police say.

Man killed by falling tree near Lisburn
PAcemaker

The accident happened at about 11:30am this morning. The road is still closed.

Three injured by 'blown off' pallet

Kevin Sharkey

BBC News NI

Three people have been injured when a pallet was blown off a lorry in the Connswater area in east Belfast.

A three-year-old child and a 75-year-old woman were among the injured. They were all treated in hospital for what are believed to be minor injuries.

Budget agreed

Gareth Gordon

BBC News NI Political Correspondent

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed a budget - but SDLP, the Alliance Party and UUP all voted against.

Killer's pension battle on hold

Belfast Telegraph

Double killer Hazel Stewart's legal battle over police pension benefits inherited from her murdered first husband has been put on hold,

the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Hazel Stewart
PA
Hazel Stewart's solicitor described the ruling as a 'minor setback'

Storm safety first

Barra Best

BBC News NI Weather Presenter

Don't risk it! This is one lucky guy at Ballintoy Harbour in County Antrim today. Photos by Eddie Espie.

Ballintoy
Ciaran McCauley

Road blocked in Moneyreagh

PSNI Castlereagh

tweets:

PSNI Castlereagh tweet
Ciaran McCauley

Archive: Rathlin in 1957

With strong winds battering Northern Ireland, ferries to Rathlin Island were cancelled again today - that's the fifth time in the last eight days that the

island has been cut off.

bbc
BBC

But what was life like on the island back in 1957? It was a completely different time for Rathlin as

our archive footage shows.

Where's squally?

Barra Best

BBC News NI Weather Presenter

BBC News NI Weather presenter Barra Best has

posted a vine of the stormy conditions in Portstewart.

The strong winds have cause damage along Portstewart promenade
Andrew Hill

Guilty plea in murder trial

An east Belfast man, Alan Irvine,

faces a life sentence after pleading guilty to murdering 52-year-old George Gray.

George Gray
BBC

Mr Gray's body was found at his home on Cregagh Road in September 2012.

Tricky conditions

Mervyn Jess

BBC News NI

Driving conditions on the M2:

Motorway rain
BBC

Riding out the storm

Cecilia Daly

BBC News NI Weather Presenter

Oil rig
Vivienne Beck

The Byford Dolphin oil rig hasn't yet been able to make it into Harland & Wolff in Belfast for a refit because of the high winds.

Viv Beck got this great shot of the rig off Groomsport, County Down, this afternoon.

Trees down

Julian Fowler

BBC News NI

Fallen trees have blocked several roads in Fermanagh. This one has just been cleared from Gardrum Road in Belcoo...

Trees by side of road
BBC

Ballygowan bus service cancelled

Translink

Translink

tweets:

Ballygowan service
Translink Twitter

Road Closed

Trafficwatch NI

tweets

Traffic tweet
Twitter

Victim rejects Blair OTR stance:

Impartial Reporter

The Impartial Reporter

reports that an Enniskillen bomb survivor has rejected the claims of former Prime Minister
Tony Blair that the On The Runs (OTRs) scheme was key to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Tony Blair
BBC

NI waits for Charlie Hebdo

Ita Dungan

BBC News

Just off the phone with the distributor of Charlie Hebdo in Ireland - he says he'd requested more than 2,500 copies of the magazine, including 720 for 40 retailers in Northern Ireland. As yet he hasn't received any.

Charlie Hebdo
AP

He said that French distributors are looking after the home market first because of

high demand.

Allister accused of bullying

Jim Allister has been accused of

bullying a DUP special adviser who was giving evidence to a Stormont committee earlier.

Jim Allister
BBC

The claim was made by Sammy Wilson when Stephen Brimstone was giving evidence in an inquiry into claims of

political interference in the Housing Executive.

Foyle Bridge reopens

BBC NI Travel

BBC NI Travel

tweets:

Foyle Bridge tweet
BBC

'Accident' cancels Maze show

An agricultural event set for the Maze has been cancelled because of an "accident" caused by the weather, say organisers.

Balmoral Show at the Maze
other

Video from the Ulster Star shows that part of a marquee collapsed. Organisers say that no one was injured.

Folk legends in studio

William Crawley

BBC Talkback presenter

We had some very special guests on

BBC Talkback today - Irish folk band The Fureys, who gave us an exclusive performance of some of their best known songs including Red Rose Cafe and
Steal Away.

The Fureys
Ciaran McCauley

Judicial review on Durkan decision

Traders in Newry will seek a judicial review of Environment Minister Mark H Durkan's

decision to approve a major-mixed used development on the outskirts of the city.

Carnbane Industrial estate, Newry
Eric Jones/CC Geograph

The Newry chamber of Commerce and Trade has launched a High Court bid, arguing that the development could damage city centre investment.

Trees down and roads blocked

Barra Best

BBC News NI Weather Presenter

Careful if you're out there driving - the battering winds have knocked down a number of trees that are blocking roads.

Trees blown over
BBC

Clockwise from top left are:

Clady;
Dunmurry;
Brustin Braes, Larne; and the
Bann Road, Ballymoney .