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  1. Updates for Tuesday 17 February 2015
  2. More updates from 07:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Ciaran Daly and Grania McFadden

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

Ciaran McCauley


That's all from BBC News NI Live today - we're off to get some pancakes. Thanks for all your reactions to today's stories and to those who sent in pictures.

We'll be back from 07:00 on Wednesday with more news, sport, weather and travel.

Aurora madness

Last night presented Northern Ireland's photographers with the first chance of capturing the elusive northern lights, and they did not disappoint.

Aurora Borealis

Clockwise from top left we have the view over Inishowen taken by Tyler Collins, Malin Head by Rónán McLaughlin and Ballyholme in County Down by Noel Blaney.

Prescriptions per person

BBC News NI's Colletta Smith


Ciaran McCauley

Executive 'debt concern'

News Letter

The executive's concern at Stormont's level of debt meant that it did not want to take on major new borrowings, just days before agreeing a loan of more than a billion pounds, according to a secret document,

the News Letter reports.


What we have we hold:

BBC Spotlight

Preview of tonight's Spotlight



Declan Lawn investigates religious bias in land sales in Northern Ireland tonight on BBC One at 22.40

Irish hockey squad named;

BBC Sport NI

Ireland's woman hockey squad for the latest stage of the Olympic qualifying process has been named and

includes five Ulster players.

Megan Frazer

Lizzie Colvin, Megan Frazer (pictured), Shirley McCaw, Katie Mullan and Ayeisha McFadden are all included for the World League 2 event in Dublin.

World record lamb?

Has the biggest lamb in the world been born in Northern Ireland?

Big lamb
Susan Stewart

On Sunday, a lamb weighing 25.5lbs came into the world in Ballynure. The lamb, bred by William Stewart, 12, may be the biggest one ever born in the world. It's unconfirmed but, previous reports

put the record at 24lbs.

Ernie eyes Irish Open

Ernie Els


Ernie Els tweet
Ciaran McCauley

Lay of the land:

Declan Lawn

BBC NI Spotlight


how widespread is the issue of religious and political bias when it comes land sales?

Drew Nelson

Tonight on

BBC Spotlight, the Orange Order tells us they use land funds to "counter republicans' illegal proceeds" from activity such as fuel smuggling. You can see more on BBC One at 22:40.

Twenty is plenty?

MLAs are debating legislation which would enable groups of residents to create 20mph speed limit zones in their neighbourhoods. The bill is being proposed by the SDLP's Pat Ramsey, who says it would save lives.

Pat Ramsey

The legislation looks set to go through its second stage in the assembly to be examined by a committee.

Bomb 'designed to kill';

Keiron Tourish


Supt Mark McEwan says that the bomb found at Currynierin on the outskirts of Londonderry was designed to kill.

Mark McEwan

He says those who left it showed a callous disregard for the safety of the community and police officers.

Escaped prisoner named

More on the prisoner who

escaped custody in Dublin - Irish police have named him as Derek Brockwell, 53.

Derek Brockwell
Ciaran McCauley

Brockwell is serving a seven-year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for armed robbery and had been serving a life sentence in the UK for a series of armed robberies.

Alert caused by bomb

Police confirm that the

device found in Currynierin housing estate in Londonderry is a bomb.


Several homes remain evacuated and some roads remain closed.

'No support' for soldiers

Kevin Sharkey


An event's been held in Newtownards for military families who are campaigning for better support for soldiers returning from war.

I've been speaking to a soldier who fought in Iraq a decade ago and says he received no support after he suffered a mental breakdown when he returned home. You can hear more on

Evening Extra after 17:30.

'No concerns' over foetal diagnoses;

The justice minister says he believes no professional medical organisations have raised concerns over the ability of doctors to accurately diagnose lethal foetal abnormalities.

David Ford

David Ford was taking questions from MLAs in the Assembly about his consultation on proposed changes to abortion law.

Spotlight on Orange:


Neighbourhood policing under threat:

Banbridge Chronicle

The Banbridge Chronicle

reports that the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson and Brenda Hale fear for the future of local neighbourhood policing teams due to PSNI restructuring.

Jeffrey Donaldson

Faith on Facebook

Derry Journal

According to the Derry Journal, the Archbishop Eamon Martin is going on something for Lent - Facebook.

Eamon Martin

The newspaper reports that he has invited people to engage with the new Facebook page and also on Twitter using the hashtags #lent and #lent2015.

Kincora: judicial review

A High Court judge has granted leave for a judicial review into how an investigation into the Kincora Boys' Home is dealt with.


The hearing is scheduled for 1 June and is expected to last up to three days.

Prisoner escapes:

RTE news

tweets that gardaí are searching for an inmate who escaped from Tallaght Hospital after stabbing two prison officers

Tattoo event under threat

The organisers of the Walled City Tattoo in Derry say the future of the event is

in doubt because of a lack of funding.

Walled City Tattoo

White horses

It's a rough day at Ballintoy

Ballintoy harbour
Declan Reid

This scene at the harbour was captured by

Declan Reid

Derry estate alert:

PSNI Foyle



Several homes remain evacuated and some roads remain closed.

House prices up

Belfast Telegraph

House prices in Northern Ireland rose by an average of 4.9% in Northern Ireland in December,

the Belfast Telegraph reports.


'Give Ireland test status now'

BBC Sport NI

Former West Indies great Michael Holding says the International Cricket Council should

grant Ireland test status immediately.

Michael Holding
Getty Images

Holding says Ireland will lose players unless they get to compete at test level.

Bombardier cutting 130 jobs;

John Campbell

BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

Bombardier is

planning to cut 130 jobs from its agency and contract workforce in Belfast.


The trade union Unite says that the shopfloor jobs are to go from the firm's "complementary labour force".

Big names for Irish Open

BBC Sport NI

In case you missed it earlier, there was a great news for golf fans after Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els confirmed they'll be

competing in this year's Irish Open at Royal County Down.

Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els
Getty Images

Craigavon union flag row:

Portadown Times

The Portadown Times

reports that Sinn Féin has failed in its attempts to cancel an earlier motion to keep the union flag at Craigavon civic centre flying 365 days a year.

The union flag was displayed outside Craigavon Borough Council's headquarters in County Armagh on Tuesday morning
BBC Gordon Adair

Politics on ice:

BBC News NI political correspondent Stephen Walker

tweets: @M_McGuinness_SF says he offered to race @DUPleader down the Stormont ice track but "he wouldn't take me up on it".

Stormont ice

Archive: Pancakes hit the streets:

BBC NI Archive

It's Shrove Tuesday and that means pancakes - lots and lots of them. It was the same in 1977 as our

archive footage shows.

Pancake Tuesday

It features reporter Colin Baker (appropriate name) asking people on the streets of Belfast to show-off their pancake flipping technique.

Council name debate:

Banbridge Chronicle

The Banbridge Chronicle

reports that the naming of a new council will be debated at a crunch meeting on Thursday.

Banbridge, Craigavon and Armagh City Council is the suggested name for the council in question.

Delays in Bangor

BBC NI Travel

Gransha Road in Bangor is down to one lane outside the college because of roadworks. It's causing delays in both directions, Avoid if you can.

Prescription charges reaction

Seamus Duffy via email: I think a universal charge is an excellent idea. Make everyone do their bit. Would also stop wastage.

Daryl Cupples

via Twitter: What happens to people who have a rare condition and if they find out that they can't take that drug then it's a waste our money.


on Twitter: What is a reasonable amount? who sets it. Where does the money go? Back in Prescriptions or legal fees on blood?

Attack on health workers:

Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph

reports that attacks on health service workers are on the rise across Northern Ireland.


More than 17 assaults on health workers are reported every day and over the last year more than 6,200 attacks were recorded.

Ormeau Road assault:


Police want to speak to these three men in relation to an incident on the Ormeau Road in Belfast last night that happened at 21:20.


A 43 year-old man was assaulted and struck on the head with a bottle.

Flipping royals

BBC NI Archive

It's Shrove Tuesday, and even royalty like a good pancake, as Prince William and the soon-to-be Duchess of Cambridge showed during a visit to Northern Ireland in 2011.

William and Kate in Belfast

As our archive video shows, both appear to be a dab hand at the pancake toss. No word though on whether they're sugar-and-lemon traditionalists or like to experiment with Commonwealth tastes such as maple syrup.

Chasing the lights

It was a late night for photographer Alistair Hamill as he was up and down the north coast taking photos of the first visible aurora borealis of the year.

Aurora borealis
AListair Hamill

He says the lights took a while to kick in, but from around 00:30 they picked up and became clear to the naked eye. Here's his shots from Magheracross Arch near Portrush, the Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle.

Orange order

BBC Spotlight

Tonight on

BBC Spotlight NI the Orange Order will be speaking about its role in the Ulster Land and Property Company.


Tune into BBC One NI tonight at 22:40.

US fund moves against Miskelly:

John Campbell

BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

The US investment fund Cerberus has made a major move against County Down developer John Miskelly, appointing receivers to several Belfast properties.

Ten Square hotel
BBC Peter Hamill

Cerberus took control of loans made to some of Mr Miskelly's firms when it bought the Northern Ireland loan portfolio of Nama. Cerberus also appointed administrators to Mr Miskelly's Ten Square hotel in Belfast city centre.

Restoring history

The Harland and Wolff headquarters building and drawing offices on Queen's Island was the hub where more than 1,000 ships including the Olympic, Titanic, Britannic and HMS Belfast were designed.


A £4.9m grant has been awarded to help convert the building into an 84-room boutique hotel. The space may be in disrepair but it's still pretty striking.