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Summary

  1. Updates for Tuesday 24 March 2015
  2. More news, sport, weather and travel updates from 07:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Conor Macauley and Ciaran McCauley

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight!:

Ciaran Daly

BBC News NI

That's BBC News NI Live over for another day. Today was a spring day that didn't feel all that spring-like at times, as this picture from Peter Breene perfectly shows.

Daffodils
Peter Breene

We'll be back again at 07:00 on Wednesday. Until then, you can keep up to date with all of the latest news, sport, travel and weather on the

BBC News NI website.

OTR scheme not an amnesty:

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State has said that the On the Run letters should not be relied on, and are not, and never were, an amnesty.

Theresa Villiers said that the letters are not and never were an amnesty
BBC

You

can watch Theresa Villiers speak to BBC News NI's Vincent Kearney in London following the publication of a Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report into the scheme.

Allen progresses in Thailand:

BBC Sport NI

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen produced a break of 94

to win the deciding frame and clinch a 4-3 victory over Ryan Day in the first round of the Players Championship in Bangkok.

Mark Allen clinched victory with a 94 break in the final frame
Getty Images

Allen will now face Stuart Bingham or Alan McManus in the last 16 stage in Thailand.

New Belfast mayor elected:

BBC News NI reporter Martin Cassidy

tweets:

Martin Cassidy
Twitter

Police cleared of causing closure of bank account:

Police played no part in a bank's decision to close the accounts of one of its customers, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman's Office has concluded.

Police Ombudsman
BBC

A man had alleged that police had provided the bank with "malicious" information about him after his bank told him that he would have to close all his accounts within six weeks due to "inappropriate behaviour".

Future OTR cases less 'clean-cut'

Legal commentator Joshua Rosenberg has told BBC Evening Extra that any future cases arising from On the Run letters would be "far less clean-cut" from a legal perspective than in the case of John Downey.

Joshua Rosenberg
BBC

Mr Downey was

not prosecuted because he was given a guarantee he would not face trial.

Man sexually abused 10-year-old girl:

A man has been jailed and put on the sex offenders register for sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl.

The 24-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, denied the assaults during visits to her home between March 2010 and March 2012.

He was sentenced to three and a half years, half of which will be in custody and the other half on supervised licensed parole.

Risk of frost and ice tonight:

BBC News NI weather presenter Barra Best

tweets:

Frost and ice
Twitter

Belfast traffic:

Trafficwatch NI

tweets:

Trafficwatch
Twitter

Lawyer says state 'involved in mass murder':

Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph

reports that a lawyer has told a coroner's court that the state was involved in mass murder on British soil.

Leslie Thomas QC
BBC

Leslie Thomas QC said that the security forces colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 80 deaths between July 1972 and June 1978 in Northern Ireland's "murder triangle" in counties Armagh and Tyrone,

Costs of reduced VAT for hospitality industry

A reduced VAT rate for the hospitality industry in the Republic of Ireland

may have cost the state more than €600m (£440m).

General view of a hotel bed
Thinkstock

Hotels, restaurants, caterers and other businesses in the hospitality sector have benefited from the reduced 9% VAT rate since 2011.

Hijacking charges:

PSNI

Police in Belfast have charged a 23-year-old man with attempted hijacking and other offences following incident at North Street in Belfast yesterday,

More details on Kelly's royal pardon:

Chris Page

BBC News NI Political Correspondent

A Sinn Fein source has given me some clarification on how Gerry Kelly was awarded the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

Gerry Kelly
(C) British Broadcasting Corporation

The UK chose to use the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in order to quash Gerry Kelly's convictions that pre-dated the Maze escape, so they could extradite him from Holland to face charges in connection with the escape.

Unite warns of college redundancies:

BBC News NI economics and business editor John Campbell

tweets:

MET redundancies
Twitter

Police release man unconditionally

Police have released a 29-year-old man unconditionally in connection with the serious disorder in Larne on 30 March 2014. following his arrest in the County Antrim town earlier today.

£35m Magherafelt bypass build starts:

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has announced the start of construction of the Magherafelt bypass at a total cost of £35m.

Magherafelt bypass
Michael Cooper

The construction of the new 3.72 mile (6km) carriageway is expected to take 20 months with completion scheduled for late 2016.

Loans to build Belfast offices:

BBC News NI business reporter Julian O'Neill

tweets:

Loans for building offices in Belfast
Twitter

Clash over stroke unit:

Newry Reporter

The Newry Reporter

says that SDLP councillor Frank Feely has accused the Southern Health Trust of wanting to "destroy" Daisy Hill Hospital's stroke unit.

Front page Newry Reporter
The Newry Reporter

Delays on the roads:

Trafficwatch NI

In east Belfast a collision on the Queens Bridge is blocking one lane just before Oxford Street and causing minor delays.

In north Down an accident on the A2 at Cultra after the Ulster Folk Museum has been cleared but knock-on delays remain towards Bangor.

Text said cannabis was rocket fuel'

A drug dealer's mobile phone held a text message that said his

cannabis was "rocket fuel", the Crown Court has heard.

Laganside
BBC

It also said that his other tablets, similar to Ecstasy were "top notch". Stephen John Tumilty, 35, was sentenced to ten months in prison at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday.

McClean injury scare:

BBC Sport NI

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill could face an anxious wait over

the fitness of James McClean.

James McClean of the republic of Ireland
Inpho

The 25-year-old Wigan midfielder limped out of Tuesday's training session in Malahide near Dublin and was taken for a scan on his left ankle.

Gorse fire at Annalong

Firefighters are at the scene of a gorse fire in Annalong, the second in the area within a week. Seven fire appliances and 25 firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at Head Road in the town at 11:25

Due to water supply issues in the area, firefighters are also beating the fire out with specially produced beaters, as well as digging it out.

Cannabis grown at Chinese restaurant:

Ballymena Times

The Ballymena Times

reports that a Chinese restaurant manager has admitted allowing cannabis to be grown in his restaurant.

Antrim courthouse
BBC

Wan Hon-Fai, 55, pleaded guilty to allowing cannabis to be grown at the Water Margin Chinese restaurant on the Cullybackey Road in Ballymena over a four-year period.

SDLP reaction to OTR report

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell has given

his reaction to the Westminster report on the On the Runs, saying it was "a further indictment of how a British government and Sinn Féin colluded together to defeat due process".

Alasdair McDonnell
PA

Mr McDonnell said: "The OTRs episode is a disturbing insight into the lengths some in London would go to in order to pacify Sinn Féin."

DUP 'will not take part in horse-trading'

Watch the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson tell the Daily Politics that his party will "put our mat out very clearly before the election" and not take part in horse-trading after 7 May.

Jeffrey Donaldson
BBC

Mr Donaldson said "national issues will take prominence", and the party will decide this weekend at its spring conference where it stands on supporting larger parties.

Clarke may call on Gerrard:

BBC Sport NI

Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke is considering asking Liverpool's

Steven Gerrard to address his European side when they play the United States in 2016.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard
AP

Europe will face the US at Hazeltine in Minnesota when Gerrard is set to be playing in the US with LA Galaxy.

Unionist parties 'may merge one day':

When asked by the Daily Politics about

a potential merger of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said "maybe that will happen one day".

DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson
(C) British Broadcasting Corporation

Mr Donaldson said: "As a former member of the Ulster Unionists and currently a member of the DUP, of course I would like to see unionism working more closely together."

Arson attack in Limavady

There was an arson attack at 21:30 last night at Glenmill Park in Limavady, County Londonderry. A window of a Ford Focus was smashed and a fire was started. Local people extinguished the flames using buckets of water.

Public loans to ease offices 'crisis':

Julian O'Neill

BBC News NI Business Correspondent

Loans of public money may be made available to property developers to build offices in Belfast city centre, after a report described supply as "extremely limited."

Clarendon House
© Albert Bridge/CC Geograph

The report was commissioned by Invest NI after commercial agents warned of a "crisis" which, unless addressed, could hinder attempts to attract overseas jobs.

Allister queries royal pardon:

BBC News NI political correspondent Gareth Gordon

tweets:

Royal pardon
Twitter

Kelly received royal pardon

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly admitted on BBC Talkback today that he had received a royal pardon.

TUV leader Jim Allister reacted by saying the revelation is "another reminder of the peace process's heart of darkness".

Gerry Kelly
BBC

You can download the

BBC Talkback podcast here.

First Derivatives buys Dublin software firm:

John Campbell

BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

First Derivatives, the Newry-based financial technology firm,

has bought a Dublin software firm for £3.4m.

First Derivatives
BBC

ActivateClients specialises in applications and trading systems for the financial markets. This is the latest in a series of purchases by First Derivatives, which now employs around 1000 people.

Arrest under Terrorism Act:

PSNI

A 29-year-old man has been arrested in Larne under the Terrorism Act and is being interviewed by police at the Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

A house that was damaged in Knockdhu Park in Larne
BBC

The arrest relates

to disorder in the Sallagh Park area of Larne on 30 March 2014.

6,000 could be affected by housing crisis:

Derry Journal

The Derry Journal

reports that a Sinn Féin councillor has warned that 6,000 people could be affected by a housing crisis.

Aerial view of houses in Northern Ireland
BBC

Councillor Tony Hassan said that the statement from the Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey last week that there are over 2,400 families homeless or in housing stress could be just be the tip of the iceberg.

Man given life sentence

A man who said he stabbed his friend to death because he heard "voices"

has been given a life sentence.

Tomas Hornay
Pacemaker

Tomas Hornay, 36, attacked Luis Nazario Ximines with two kitchen knives at the house they shared in Dungannon, County Tyrone, on 1 August 2013.

Decline of A-level results :

Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph

reports that several of Northern Ireland's most prestigious schools have fallen well below average in their A-level results.

Students sitting exam
PA

The A-level results have revealed that non-grammars are closing the gap with grammar schools.

Upper Station Road closed:

PSNI

tweets:

PSNI
PSNI

Allister accused of 'disgraceful behaviour':

BBC News NI political reporter Gareth Gordon

tweets:

Gareth Gordon
Twitter