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  1. Updates for Tuesday 31 March 2015
  2. Last day for NI education boards
  3. Event to showcase autism skills
  4. Plastic bag tax to plug funding gap

Live Reporting

By Conor Macauley and Ciaran McCauley

All times stated are UK

Get involved


Ciaran McCauley


That's it from us at BBC News NI Live. We'll be back tomorrow from 07:00 with more news, sport, travel and weather.

Speaking of weather, if tomorrow is anything like today then prepare for 15 different weather systems.

Leave for judicial review into Robinson Centre:

A high court judge has granted leave for a judicial review into the

transfer of the Robinson Centre from Castlereagh Borough Council to Belfast City Council.

Robinson Centre

The city council objected to the transfer as they claim the centre is not fit for purpose. The judge also ruled that Belfast will not be liable for any claims by the public from before 1 April.

Less winds tomorrow:

March ends with gales, hail and snow - but what will April bring? The

full forecast shows it's going to be a rainy start tomorrow but less windy.

Tuesday evening weather

Robinson Centre court battle:

Belfast and Castlereagh council are embroiled in a legal battle over a leisure centre in Belfast a day before super-councils take over the running over local government.

Robinson Centre

Belfast City Council is due to take control of the Robinson Centre from Castlereagh Borough Council at midnight. The centre has been closed because of asbestos and Belfast council says the transfer is unfair on the city's ratepayers.

Homeless man convicted of arson:

News Letter

A homeless man who allegedly lit a fire in a derelict house in a bid to keep warm has been convicted of arson,

the News Letter reports.

David Shields started the blaze which caused extensive damage to the property on University Street in south Belfast, a judge ruled.

Olding out for season:

Bad news for Ulster Rugby now - centre Stuart Olding is out for nine months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Stuart Olding

That rules him out for the season and any outside possibility of him making Ireland's World Cup squad.

Easyjet "vote of confidence":

Alliance councillor Neil Kelly has welcomed the announcement by Easyjet that they will be

increasing the number of flights at Belfast International Airport.

Getty Images

The Antrim councillor says: "This is vote of confidence in Belfast International Airport and the Northern Ireland economy."

Clarkson to appear in Belfast:

Jeremy Clarkson will appear live with his former Top Gear colleagues at planned shows in Belfast - but the events will no longer be known as Top Gear Live.

Top Gear

The events at the Odyssey Arena will be stripped of any BBC branding and be billed as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live. It might also mean advertisements around Belfast, like the one above, will need replaced.

Policing 'run-down' claim:

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has called for Justice Minister David Ford to intervene over what she claims is a "run-down" in policing in the Banbridge and Craigavon area.

Jo-Anne Dobson

She says proposed changes to neighbourhood policing arrangements in the area are a "slap in the face" to the people of Banbridge.

Crankill Road reopened:

BBC NI Travel

Police say the Crankill Road in Ballymena is now clear in both directions after it was blocked by a fallen tree.

Foster welcomes new air routes:

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed another announcement today of new routes to Belfast International Airport.

Arlene Foster

Wizz Air will offer direct services to Katowice in Poland and Vilnius in Lithuania. She said the new routes would help connectivity for business and tourism.

Mussel growth?

Rick Faragher


Are fishing restrictions on Strangford Lough helping to boost rare mussels? Some say there's no link - I'll have more on

BBC Newsline from 18:30.


Belfast delays:

BBC NI Travel

Delays on the Sydenham Bypass (towards Holywood) are now back onto the M3 Lagan Bridge and further back to Duncrue Street on M2.

Traffic is also slow on the Westlink in both directions.

Farewell Richard:

Richard Wright, the voice of agriculture for BBC News NI for 30 years, bade a fond farewell after his final shift today.

Richard Wright

The newsroom paid tribute to their colleague and hopefully he didn't feel too sheepish about the cake. Best of luck Richard!

Windsor stand sealed off:

BBC Sport NI

Matches at Windsor Park could be in doubt after the West Stand was sealed off because of possible subsidence.

Windsor Park
Press Eye

Cracks in the structure of the stand were spotted on Tuesday. The stand was packed on Sunday for the

Euro 2016 qualifier victory over Finland.

Weather extremes:

You may have noticed, but the weather today has changed more than a Superman on a bad day - spells of sunny loveliness followed by sudden biblical-style hail storms.


The winds are still gusting to 60mph or more in places and the wind warning is valid until 19:00.

Banned drugs in supplements:

Banned drugs, including anabolic steroids, have been found in sports supplements sold across the counter in high street shops,

a BBC NI Spotlight investigation has found.

Metha-Quad Extreme

Spotlight is on BBC One Northern Ireland tonight at 22:45.

Super-council powers:

Chris Page

BBC News NI Political Correspondent

From tomorrow life in local government will never be the same, as the 11 super-councils

take up their responsibilities.


But what responsibilities do they now have? Above shows the additional powers that have been transferred to super-councils from government departments.

Tree crushes van:

Gordon Adair


A crushed van - and the tree that crushed it just outside Middletown this afternoon. Driver is injured but stable.

Gordon Adair van

Man guilty of murdering homeless man:

A 28-year-old man has been found guilty

of murdering a homeless man at an apartment block in Cork almost two years ago.

Cork apartment death

The body of Liam Manley, who was 58, was discovered close to an internal refuse chute of the City Garden apartment complex at North Main Street on 13 May 2013.

Fallen tree in Ballymena:

PSNI Ballymena


Fallen tree
Ciaran McCauley

FA 'disappointed' over Olympics:

BBC Sport NI

The Football Association

says it's "disappointed" a Great Britain football team will not compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Women's Olympics team
Getty Images

The English FA wanted to field men's and women's teams at the Games but the plans provoked strong opposition from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FAs.

Facelift before Irish Open:

Belfast Telegraph

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced that derelict sites and empty shops are to be given a major facelift ahead of the Irish Open golf tournament,

the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Royal County Down

Coolkill Road closed:

Trafficwatch NI

tweets that the Coolkill Road between Caledon and Middletown will be "closed for some time" after a tree fell about a mile outside Middletown.

Police say the tree hit a van and a man received non-life threatening injuries.

Stabbing charges for Dublin man:

Newtownabbey Times

The Newtownabbey Times

reports that a Dublin man appeared in court in Belfast charged with stabbing a man during an incident in the Chimney Corner Hotel at the weekend.

Belfast court complex

£900,000 for schools' library management:

School libraries are to get new software to allow better access.

Education Minister John O'Dowd today announced £900,000 will be made available.

Funding gap in hotel development:

Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph

reports that architects and a number of other firms have been appointed to turn the six-storey Scottish Mutual building in Belfast into a boutique hotel as its owners fight to plug a funding shortfall caused by government cuts.

The Mutual hotel

The Scottish Mutual hotel was one of the first listed building projects to be hit by a grant freeze, leaving a shortfall in the project's funding.

Jet2 expansion creates 86 jobs:

The airliner Jet2 will begin flying two new routes from Belfast International Airport to Rome, Italy and Prague in the Czech Republic this week.

charles mcquillan

The airliner will be adding a further three routes including Gran Canaria, Verona and Zante later this year. As a result, 86 new jobs have been created this year, including flight and cabin crew, engineers and ground operations staff.

Victim calls attackers 'cowards':

Keiron Tourish


The victim of a so-called punishment attack in the Creggan area of Londonderry, Gerald Lavey, 30, says the gang of five or six men who beat him with iron bars are "cowards".

Gerald Lavey

Mr Lavey blamed dissident republicans for the attack and says that he doesn't know why he was targeted. He says that he is not a drug dealer but is addicted to prescription drugs after a serious car accident.

CCMS schools to remain outside Education Authority:

Maggie Taggart

BBC News NI Education Correspondent

The Education Authority, one very large board, starts operations on 1 April,

replacing Northern Ireland's five education and library boards.


The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) has confirmed in a statement, however, that it will remain outside of the Education Authority and "will continue with its role as the employing authority for the 5,900 teachers within the Catholic sector".

Dead priest abuse allegations:

Irish News

The Irish News

reports that a late priest "assaulted children in Newry".

Fr Seamus Reid
The Irish News

The Catholic Church has confirmed that sex abuse allegations, dating back to the 1960s, have been made against deceased priest Fr Seamus Reid.

Tree falls on van:

PSNI Armagh


PSNI Armagh

Money launderer given suspended sentence

A County Down businessman, who pleaded guilty almost a year ago to running a multi-million pound money-laundering operation,

has been given a suspended sentence.

Rory Trainor

Rory Trainor ran a bureau de change on the Old Dublin Road in Newry.

10 years for armed robbery:

BBC News NI's Dean McLaughlin


10 year sentence

Kernan new international rules boss:

BBC Sport NI

Former Armagh All-Ireland winning boss Joe Kernan will be unveiled as the

new Ireland International Rules team manager today, BBC Sport understands.

Joe Kernan

Kernan, 60, guided Armagh to their only All-Ireland success in 2002. He will succeed Roscommon's Paul Earley as Ireland boss for the next two years.

Four seasons in a day:

The sun's shining in Belfast again now, but a little while ago the mother of all storm clouds rolled in and dropped a heavy dose of wind, rain and sleet.

Snow and sleet
Gerard McCabe

This photo from Gerard McCabe shows what things were like in Ligoniel.

Ulster close to All-Blacks coup:

BBC Sport NI

Ulster are on the verge of

signing All Black Charles Piutau on a lucrative two-year deal.

Charles Piutau
Getty Images

The 23-year-old utility back has played 14 tests but could start his Ulster career in 2016, in what would be a spectacular coup for the Irish province.

Extra 900 flights:

BBC News NI business correspondent Julian O'Neill


Julian O'Neill