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Summary

  1. Updates for Wednesday 8 June 2016
  2. School closed after father and two children struck by lightning
  3. Increase in manufacturing exports to outside the EU
  4. Independent panel recommends new decommissioning scheme
  5. Picture: White Rocks Beach, County Antrim (by James Gardiner)

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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That's all folks!

That's it from us for this evening. Join us again tomorrow at 07:00 for more  news and views from across Northern Ireland ... and even un petit peu from France!

Hockey player loses High Court gum shield claim

A hockey player who suffered serious dental injuries in a first eleven match has lost a High Court negligence claim against her former school.

Court
BBC

Megan Murray, 22, sued Rainey Endowed in Magherafelt over damage inflicted when she was not wearing a mouth guard during a game nearly eight years ago. But a judge ruled that the school's policy of recommending pupils use gum shields met the appropriate standard of care.

Westlink broken down van cleared

'Why did it take so long?'

Alliance leader David Ford has submitted an urgent question to the health minister asking what evidence came to light to allow the lifting of the gay blood ban.

David Ford
Pacemaker

"I have always believed Northern Ireland should be brought into line with the rest of the UK when it comes to gay men donating blood. Therefore the lifting of the ban is a positive step. However, the minister needs to explain why it took so long to come to this decision."

A plague 'of biblical proportions'

Conor Macauley

BBC News NI Agriculture and Environment Correspondent

A plague of biblical proportions is munching its way through ash trees in an area of south Belfast.

caterpillar
BBC

Tens of thousands of larvae have stripped a number of trees almost bare in the Belvoir estate.  

Breakdown leads to Westlink delays

BreakingSearch for three missing divers

A search is under way for three divers missing off the north Antrim coast near Whitehead. 

Helicopter
MCA

The Coastguard rescue helicopter, Bangor lifeboat, Portmuck and Larne Coastguard and a merchant vessel are all involved in the search.

Coming up...

Groin and bear it - Lafferty ready for Poles

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty gave positive news on his groin injury following a scan today.  

Lafferty
Inpho

Lafferty sustained the injury during training yesterday, five days before the Euro 2016 opener against Poland. He sent out a tweet earlier saying he was "now back on the pitch and bring on the Poles".

Put a spell on me!

Allez! Allez! Allez!

Corporation Tax talks being 'rebooted'

Lightning strike: How are children and staff coping?

First minister to go to Northern Ireland versus Poland match

First Minster Arlene Foster plans to go to the Northern Ireland versus Poland match on Sunday.

Arlene Foster
BBC

But Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness is staying at home as he will be answering questions in the assembly the following day.

Is cutting corporation tax affordable?

The Northern Ireland Executive has not yet agreed that cutting corporation tax is affordable, the finance minister has said.

Corporation Tax
PA

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was answering questions from members of the Assembly's finance committee.  Under the Fresh Start deal, the executive committed to cut the tax rate to 12.5% in 2018, on the basis that the measure is affordable.

Talking to women facing fatal foetal abnormality

The Public Health Agency is meeting women in Northern Ireland who have experienced a pregnancy where the baby was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.

FFA
Science Photo Library

The BBC understands that the agency wants to be able to help other women who are told their baby has a life-limiting condition, including what options may be available. 

Kingsmills families' confidence 'shaken'

The coroner at the Kingsmills inquest says the discovery of a palm print has "shaken the confidence of a number of families" whose loved ones died.

Kingsmills
BBC

But Judge Brian Sherrard said: "This is the first and best opportunity since 1976 to establish a verifiable link between the person who has been identified and the attack. That link may produce many more leads."

Resources to tackle police stress 'pitiful'

Republic of Ireland 'aims for more iconic moments'

BBC Sport NI's Thomas Kane reports on the Republic of Ireland's hopes for this year's Euros.

Republic
Inpho

"O'Neill's Ireland haven't come just to make up the numbers," he says. "It is a major tournament, and it just wouldn't be the same without the Republic."

Memories of 1982 and Spain

Ballyclare residents warned of more road closures

Kingsmills palm print finding 'absolutely incredible'

Sinn Féin deputy first minister Martin McGuinness says he finds it absolutely incredible that it took somebody 40 years to come up with a palm print in relation to the Kingsmills massacre.

van
PA

Police are to re-open their inquiry into the killing of ten Protestant workmen in South Armagh after the print was found on a getaway van. 

Meanwhile the inquest has been adjourned until 21 June.

Woman questioned over Michael Barr murder

Irish police investigating the murder of Strabane man Michael Barr in Dublin on 25 April have arrested a woman in her 30s.

shooting
RTÉ

She is being questioned in Dublin. Mr Barr, 34, was killed in the Sunset House pub. He was known to gardaí (Irish police) for his involvement with dissident republicanism.

Families to be updated on Kingsmills inquest

Families involved in the Kingsmills inquest will hear later this afternoon whether it will be adjourned. 

Kigsmills
BBC

The coroner said that, given the significance of evidence about a partial palm print found on a vehicle, police should be given the opportunity to pursue this. The coroner said a timetable would be put in place and that families would be advised as to the progress of the investigation. 

Ballymena security alert over

A security alert at Parkway, Ballymena has ended.

Nothing was found and the road has been re-opened.

Spotlight's paedophile doctor story now on iPlayer

An honest mistake... don't get shirty

Planners give go-ahead for hotel and Lidl plan

Planners have recommended the go-ahead for a proposal to build a 12-storey, 250-bedroom, hotel on Tomb Street in Belfast.

Lidl
BBC

They have also reversed a recommendation that a new Lidl store in east Belfast should be refused. Belfast City Council's planning committee will decide on both applications next week.

Woman arrested over Michael Barr murder

Police investigating the Dublin murder of Strabane man Michael Barr have arrested a woman in her 30s.

Michael Barr shooting
RTE

Mr Barr, a dissident republican, was shot dead in a pub in April. The murder was believed to be linked to an ongoing gangland feud.

Families to find out if Kingsmills inquest to be adjourned

Families involved in the Kingsmills massacre inquest will hear later this afternoon whether it will be adjourned. 

Kingsmills van
Pacemaker

Earlier, referring to the matching of a palm print in the case, the coroner said given the significance of the evidence, police should be given the opportunity to pursue it.

PSNI - 60% increase in absence due to mental illness

BBC News NI's Kevin Sharkey reports from the Police Federation's annual conference.

View more on twitter

Seamus Heaney bust being unveiled

A bust commissioned by the Arts Council commemorating the late poet Seamus Heaney will be unveiled on Sandymount Green in Dublin this afternoon. 

Seamus Heaney
pa

The event is to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of 'Death of a Naturalist'. 

Alleyway killers 'a law unto themselves'

The daughter of north Belfast man Michael McGibbon, who was killed in a paramilitary-style shooting in April, says the killers are "a law unto themselves".

Michael McGibbon
Press Eye

"I just want to express my anger towards how people are dealing with the criminals who did it," Shauna McGibbon said. "I think it is so unfair that they are able to get away with it."

Warm sunshine this afternoon - top temperature 23C

View more on twitter

See the latest forecast here.

Minister praises school staff for action after lightning strike

Education Minister Peter Weir has commended the staff at Killowen Primary School in Lisburn for their actions immediately after a lightning strike which seriously injured a man and his two children

Killowen Primary scene
Press Eye

Although the school is closed today, staff are meeting independent counsellors to prepare them for any questions the children might ask when they return.   

Villiers 'slips into neutral'

Alert closes road in Ballymena