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  1. Updates for Thursday 5 February 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 07:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Ciaran McCauley and Grania McFadden

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Goodnight!

    Ciaran Daly

    BBC News NI

    That's all from BBC News NI Live for another day. We'll be back again, bright and early (well, early anyway) on Friday at 07:00.

    Until then, you can keep up to date with all of the latest news, sport, travel and weather in your area on the BBC News NI website.

  2. University cuts criticised

    The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) of Northern Ireland has hit out at Ulster University's decision to cut its housing management degree, the only one of its kind on the island of Ireland.

    Jordanstown campus

    CIH's Director Nicola McCrudden said: "We are struggling to understand why the university has decided to end what is a very viable undergraduate degree."

  3. Narrow Water Bridge pledge:

    The Republic of Ireland's minister for transport says that Ireland will use its influence to try to help secure EU funding for the Narrow Water Bridge project.

    Narrow Water Bridge

    European funding for the bridge to connect County Louth and County Down was withdrawn in November 2013 because additional funding had not been found.

  4. Irish teen shared cell with Greste

    An Irish teenager who has spent over a year in jail in Egypt shared a cell with freed Australian journalist Peter Greste, according to his family.

    Ibrihim, Fatima, Omaima and Somaia Halawa

    Ibrahim Halawa was detained with three of his sisters when they were caught up in the Al-Fath mosque siege in Cairo in July 2013.

  5. US corp tax 'interest'

    The prospect of a cut in corporation tax in Northern Ireland is generating significant interest in the United States, the Secretary of State has said.

    Theresa Villiers

    Theresa Villiers is in the middle of a three-day visit to Washington and New York.

  6. Thinking positive!

    When an East Belfast voter tweeted that they'd rather have their "body dipped repeatedly in mild but painful acid than ever vote for the DUP", the official DUP twitter account responded with this tweet:

  7. Showjumper cleared

    A top Irish showjumper has been cleared of having underage sex with a 15-year-old former pony club student both here and in hotels in the Republic of Ireland.

    Belfast Crown Court

    It took the jury several hours over the course of two days to acquit County Fermanagh showjumping professional Gabriel Tunney, by a majority, of all six charges he faced.

  8. Brett Lee to coach Ireland:

    BBC Sport NI

    Former Australian cricket star Brett Lee will be Ireland's bowling coach during their pre-World Cup warm-up period in Sydney.

    Former Australian star Brett Lee

    The recently-retired 38-year-old knows what it's like to win. He has been a World Cup winner twice.

  9. Alliance resignation:

    BBC News NI political correspondent Gareth Gordon tweets that Alliance councillor in Down Patrick Clarke has resigned from the party.

  10. Over 10% of courses cut:

    Maggie Taggart

    BBC News NI Education Correspondent

    The 53 courses to be cut from the University of Ulster account for 11.5% of all of those currently available at the university.

    The University of Ulster campus at Jordanstown

    A university statement said: "As per our online prospectus, there are around 400 undergraduate courses currently available for the 2015-16 academic year."

  11. Security alert over:


    Police say the security alert at Friendly Street in Belfast city centre has ended.

    PSNI crest

    Army bomb officers made a viable pipe bomb safe. The device has now been taken away for forensic examination.

  12. Allen progresses:

    Mark Allen is through to the second round of the German Masters snooker championship after beating Wales' Mark Williams 5-2.

    Mark Allen

    Allen will face Shaun Murphy in the second round. Murphy beat Allen in the semi-finals of the Masters last month.

  13. Danske bank sale

    Danske Bank has sold 540m euros worth of commercial loans in the Republic of Ireland to Bank of Ireland and Goldman Sachs.

    Danske Bank

    Larry Broderick, General Secretary of IBOA, the finance union, said that the sale marks another significant step in Danske Bank's departure from the Republic of Ireland.

  14. 50 courses cut:

    Maggie Taggart

    BBC News NI Education Correspondent

    The University of Ulster has reacted to the threat of a large budget cut by the assembly by cutting more than 50 of its undergraduate courses.

    Magee campus

    Twenty are linked to film studies, 11 are history combinations and six will go from computing courses.

  15. Replacement sculpture considered:

    Londonderry Sentinel

    The Londonderry Sentinel reports that the Manánnan Mac Lír statue that was stolen by apparent religious extremists last month could be replaced by a new sculpture three times as large.

    The Manannán Mac Lir statue at the viewing point on Binevenagh Mountain has been stolen

    Limavady Borough Council is considering a replacement that would be made of mild steel and would stand two-to-three times as tall as the original.

  16. Car bomb condemnation

    Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has condemned those responsible for placing a bomb under a car in the St James' area of west Belfast.

    St James

    Mr Maskey said: "Those behind this incident have nothing to offer society and are not reflective of the local community."

  17. Petition to save Rock Pool:

    Down Recorder

    The Down Recorder reports that an online petition has been launched to saved an iconic outdoor sea water pool in Newcastle.

    Rock Pool

    Newry, Mourne and Down Council is suggesting closing the Rock Pool at South Promenade as part of a raft of cost cutting measures.

  18. Scrabo sunset

    It's a bit milder today which goes some way to proving the old adage, red sky at night, shepherd's delight.


    This picturesque photo near Scrabo tower last night was sent in to us by Linda Hutchinson.

  19. Courts warning

    The chairman of a Stormont committee has said "we're for the courts" unless Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey produces a report by next Thursday,

    Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey gave the warning after MLAs agreed to Mr Storey's request for an extension for the production of a report into allegations of political interference in Housing Executive contracts.

  20. Belfast near top for tech

    A tech nation report says that Belfast is home to the second top UK tech cluster, after Greater Manchester.

    Science Park

    The rankings are based on the growth in average company turnover in the past five years.

  21. Lurgan security alert over:


    Police have confirmed that the security operation in Lurgan has now ended.

    Bomb disposal robot at alert

    Nothing suspicious in the Bells Row railway crossing area was discovered.

  22. Domestic abuse

    Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton has told the Policing Board that 90 reports of domestic abuse are received every day.

    Domestic Violence laws will now take into account emotional and psychological abuse
  23. Witch way to honour the occult?:

    A call to honour the last women found guilty of witchcraft in Ireland over 300 years ago has been made by author Martina Devlin.


    But there may be toil and trouble over plans to calls to put a plaque up at a new visitor centre in Islandmagee.

  24. Queen's thrown out:

    BBC Sport NI

    Queen's University Belfast and Sligo IT have both been thrown out of the Sigerson Cup.


    Both sides are accused of fielding ineligible players and both have three days to appeal the decision.

  25. Allen aims to become German champ:

    BBC Sport NI

    Northern Ireland snooker player Mark Allen is beginning his first round match against Mark Williams at the German Masters now.

    Mark Allen

    Last month, Allen reached the semi-finals of the Masters before being beaten by eventual winner Shaun Murphy.

  26. Investigating links to Belfast alerts:

    Police say they're investigating the possibility of a link between the planting of three objects under cars in different parts of Belfast in the last 24 hours.

    An Army bomb team was sent to the scene

    A senior officer told the Policing Board that the investigations were at an early stage.

  27. Railway line re-opened:

    Trafficwatch NI tweets:

  28. 55 new jobs to be created:

    Julian O'Neill

    BBC News NI Business Correspondent

    BBC News NI business correspondent Julian O'Neill tweets:

    Julian O'Neill
  29. Policing Board meeting:

    The February Policing Board meeting will be taking place in the next few minutes.

    A recent public meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board

    You can follow it live by following this link.

  30. Explosion was a pipe bomb

    Police say the explosion that damaged a car at St James Road in west Belfast was caused by a suspected pipe bomb type device.

    west belfast pipe bomb

    The remnants of the device and the car have been taken for further forensic examination.

  31. Reassurance call

    DUP MLA Tom Buchanan has expressed concern that 95 pupils at Omagh Academy were administered an incorrect vaccine.

    The DUP's Thomas Buchanan

    Mr Buchanan said: "The trust must ensure that parents receive full information about what has happened and can properly reassure them that no-one has been placed at risk."

  32. Tourism challenge

    Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Howard Hastings says that keeping tourism on its upward trajectory could become a lot more challenging.

    Tourism NI will promote such attractions as the world famous Giant's Causeway in County Antrim

    Northern Ireland Tourist Board's spending power will be reduced by over 60% due to a loss of EU funding and 15.12% savings.

  33. Falklands veteran weapons charges

    A former soldier has appeared in court on charges linked to the alleged seizure of improvised explosive devices and guns at his home in Whitehead.

    John Rankin, from Edwards Street was charged with a total of five offences. The 52-year-old, who served in the Falklands War, admitted one charge but denied the other four.

  34. Irish League suggestion:

    Londonderry Sentinel

    Londonderry Sentinel reports on a suggestion that Derry City could rejoin the Irish League in Northern Ireland.

    Tom Elliott

    UUP MLA Tom Elliott asked Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín if funds were available for such a move.

  35. Lurgan security alert latest:


    PSNI Craigavon tweets:

    Craigavon PSNI
  36. Pipe bomb in north Belfast alert

    Police say that the security alert in north Belfast was caused by a pipe bomb.

    North Belfast alert

    Insp James Murphy said the device has been taken away for examination. The alert has ended, with North Queen Street reopened and residents allowed back into their homes.

  37. Fit to be charged:

    The man accused of murdering Mohsin Bhatti on Botanic Avenue in Belfast last week is to remain on remand in prison.

    Mohsin Bhatti

    Ahmed Noor was today classed by medical experts as fit to be charged with murder and will continue to be assessed by staff at Maghaberry Prison.

  38. Talking football money

    William Crawley

    BBC Talkback presenter

    It's all about the money - we're talking about footballers' salaries on Talkback with Linfield manager Warren Feeney and NI Daily Mirror journalist Victoria McMahon.

  39. North Queen Street re-opens:

    Trafficwatch NI tweets:

  40. Train transfers:


    11.00 & 13.20 Dublin-Belfast: Due to a security alert trains will terminate at Newry. Bus subs will run between Newry and Belfast Central.

  41. Milder and more settled:

    Barra Best

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's milder today and a lot more settled but it's not going to be sunny all the time over the next few days.


    There will be spots of rain and drizzle at times but there'll still be plenty of dry weather on the way for the weekend.

  42. Irish Health Minister

    Ireland's health minister Leo Varadkar last week said that changes in blood donor deferral for any category of people will be made on the grounds of science.

    Leo Varadkar

    Earlier, it was revealed that the health department in Northern Ireland has no medical evidence of its own to support a permanent ban on gay men donating blood.

  43. Lights out for electrics firm?:

    Belfast Telegraph

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that an electrics firm in County Down says it will be forced to close as contracts for inspection of street lights are axed amid budget cuts.

    Lights may not be repaired during the winter, according to the minister

    The Department for Regional Development is putting an end to street light inspections from April this year as part of budget cuts.

  44. Ireland team named:

    BBC Sport NI

    The Ireland rugby team that will take on Italy in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday has been named.

    Tommy Bowe

    Ulster's Rory Best, Jared Payne and Tommy Bowe will all start against the Azzurri.

  45. St James Road explosion:

    BBC News NI reporter Natalie Lindo tweets: Device exploded in car on St James's Road last night ATO checking area for secondary device. Some homes evacuated.

    Natalie Lindo
  46. McDowell in tie for the lead:

    BBC Sport NI

    Graeme McDowell is in a tie for the lead with Lee Westwood on six under par after the first round of the Malaysian Open.

    Graeme McDowell

    McDowell carded seven birdies and a solitary bogey on the tricky par-four sixth hole during his opening rounds of 66 in Kuala Lumpur.

  47. Spate of security alerts

    The security alert in Lurgan, County Armagh, is ongoing and focused on the Bells Row railway crossing at Antrim Road.

    Lurgan security alert

    It began on Wednesday evening when suspicious activity was reported in the area, and continued overnight.

  48. Stolen animals

    Police in Dungannon are asking for help finding four six-week old Great Dane puppies stolen near just outside Castlecaulfield.

    Great dane puppies

    Meanwhile. the PSNI in Ards say they have received a report of the theft of two European eagle owls from the Ark open farm. Anyone with information can contact police in Newtownards.

  49. Explosion in west Belfast:

    Police say a device may have exploded or partially exploded under a parked car on St James Road in west Belfast.

    Bomb disposal experts are at the scene. A number of homes have been evacuated and St James Road has been closed at its junction with St Catherine's Road, St James Place and the Donegall Road.

  50. Taxi 'disappointment'

    BBC Radio Foyle

    The environment minister's plan to introduce meters in taxis to make for fairer competition were voted down yesterday in the assembly.

    Mark H Durkan

    "I'm disappointed these regulations were annulled, there are different views in the taxi industry," Mark H Durkan told BBC Radio Foyle. "In Derry, there is a lot of misinformation, ignorance and confusion out there and I hoped by bringing these regulations through we could have clarified that."

  51. Man badly beaten:


    PSNI East Belfast :

    East Belfast
  52. Vaccine error at Omagh school

    The school where 95 pupils were given the wrong vaccine is Omagh Academy - in a statement, its principal Keith Hill said the error happened on 12 January.


    "An investigation by the Western Trust into the error is underway and the school is liaising with a representative of the Trust regarding the outcome," he said. The Western Health Trust has said sorry for the error.

  53. Bomb experts in north Belfast

    Natalie Lindo

    BBC News

    I'm at a security alert in north Belfast - some homes inside the cordon on Frederick Street have been evacuated. The police and army bomb experts are on the scene.

    North Belfast alert
  54. Wells 'open' to charges

    News Letter

    Health Minister Jim Wells says he is "open" to the reintroduction of prescription charges in Northern Ireland, the News Letter reports.

    Jim Wells
  55. Line closed to Portadown

    The rail line closed in the security alert in Lurgan is now shut from Lisburn to Portadown - previously it was closed as far as Moira.

  56. Crematorium moves closer

    Newtownabbey Times

    Newtownabbey Borough Council has been granted outline permission for a multi-million pound crematorium at Ballyearl, the Newtownabbey Times reports.

  57. Trust sorry for wrong vaccine

    The Western Health Trust apologises after that 95 pupils in a school near Omagh were given the wrong vaccine.

    Ebola vaccine
    Image caption: Volunteers will receive two doses of the test vaccine

    The trust said that the pupils were given a pre-school vaccine instead of an adolescent one. It said the vaccine will have no serious effects and covers the pupils for all the diseases that the correct vaccine would have covered.

  58. Alert in north Belfast

    There's another security alert - this time in north Belfast. Police say North Queen Street and Great Georges Street are closed after a suspicious object was found.


    A number of homes have been evacuated and army bomb experts are at the scene. There are also ongoing alerts in the Markets area of Belfast and Lurgan.

  59. 'Moving faster' on alert

    Deputy mayor of Craigavon Catherine Seeley tweets on the security alert in Lurgan:

  60. 'Lift blood ban now'

    The chair of Stormont's health committee has called for the ban on gay blood donations to be lifted immediately.

    Maeve McLaughlin

    Maeve McLaughlin told Good Morning Ulster: "It should be lifted. This has gone through a judicial court process where it has been deemed irrational."

  61. Security alert in Belfast

    Police say that Friendly Street in the Markets area of Belfast is closed after the discovery of a suspicious object.

    Army bomb experts are at the scene. Motorists should avoid the area.

  62. Alert from telephoned warning

    Police say that the report of a device on the train tracks at Lurgan was from a telephoned warning.

    Lurgan security alert

    Ch Insp Paul Reid said police were made aware of suspicious activity around the Bells Row railway crossing before it was reported that a "device had been left on the railway line".

  63. Fianna Fáil leader in studio

    Good Morning Ulster

    Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin joined us in the studio earlier - he's on a two-day visit to Northern Ireland and will be meeting business leaders and community representatives.

    Micheál Martin

    He told us that he believed progress could be made on issues like parades and flags through the Stormont House Agreement.

  64. Blood ban 'ridiculous situation'

    John O'Doherty, from gay support group the Rainbow Project, says there is no evidence to justify a ban on gay blood imposed by former health minister Edwin Poots.

    John O'Doherty

    "It's a ridiculous situation that we're in," he told Good Morning Ulster. "This is a decision that has to be made on a medical basis. We are continually hearing from the blood service that they need blood, yet we are blanket saying no to gay and bisexual men."

  65. Rail line still closed

    BBC NI Travel

    The rail line remains closed between Moira and Lurgan - the closure may be extended past 09:00.

    The security alert at Lurgan also seems to be adding to the delays on the M1 Traffic is slow from Lisburn right through to Broadway.

  66. Witch trial plaque row

    Good Morning Ulster

    A Larne councillor has objected to plans to erect a plaque in Islandmagee as a memorial to the last witch trials in Ireland more than three centuries ago.

    Witch trials

    Alderman Jack McKee said the project was "anti-God" and he "couldn't tell if the women were rightly or wrongly convicted as he didn't have the facts". We'll be speaking to Alliance councillor John Matthews about this at about 08:45.

  67. More London City flights

    Clodagh Rice

    BBC News NI

    Flybe are upping their services between London City Airport and Belfast City this month.

    A Flybe plane

    They will now run four times a day. The news comes after the airline started to run year round flights from Belfast City to Liverpool.

  68. Alert causing 'chaos'

    BBC NI Travel

    It's not only trains that have been affected by the security alert in Lurgan a texter says the closure of Antrim Road and Cornakinnegar Road is causing chaos as people head to work and school.

  69. Man arrested in murder probe

    A 44-year-old man has been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of prominent dissident republican Tommy Crossan in west Belfast last year.

    Tommy Crossan
    Image caption: Tommy Crossan was once a senior figure in the Continuity IRA

    Mr Crossan was shot dead at a fuel depot off the Springfield Road in April.

  70. Disruption at Lurgan

    Aileen Moynagh

    BBC News NI

    Scenes at Lurgan train station this morning, with disruption because of a security alert.

    Security alert at Lurgan
  71. SoS on US visit

    Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers is on a three-day visit to the US to brief the administration on the Stormont House Agreement.

    Theresa Villiers

    She will also meet members of Congress and representatives of the Irish-American community.

  72. Fibre first in NI

    Clodagh Rice

    BBC News NI

    BT has installed a fibre-to-the-premises broadband connection in Mallusk, a first for Northern Ireland.

    Internet LAN cables

    It'll deliver download speeds the equivalent of downloading a feature film in about 20 seconds.

  73. Rail line closed

    BBC NI Travel

    The rail line is closed in both directions between Moira and Lurgan because of a security alert - a bus substitution is in place.

  74. Milder temperatures

    Barra Best

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's certainly a much milder start today - some places are 8C higher than this time yesterday.

    Thursday 5Feb Weather
  75. 'More accurate' bowel cancer test

    Scientists across Ireland have developed a blood test that could detect bowel cancer at its earliest stage.

    Bowel Cancer

    The £20 test picks up antibodies in the blood and researchers say it's more accurate than existing tests.

  76. 'No own evidence' in gay blood ban;

    Peter Coulter

    BBC News NI

    The Department of Health has no medical evidence of its own to support a permanent ban on gay men donating blood, a BBC investigation finds.


    A judge has ruled Northern Ireland's ban should be lifted, a decision that is being appealed by Health Minister Jim Wells.

  77. Lurgan alert ongoing

    A security alert in Lurgan that closed part of of the Belfast to Dublin railway line last night is ongoing.

    The rail line is still closed in both directions between Portadown and Lisburn, with bus substitutions in place. Police say that the Antrim Road and Cornakinnegar Road are still closed.

  78. Good morning

    Ciaran McCauley

    BBC News NI

    Welcome back to BBC News NI Live - we'll be bringing you all the news, sport, weather and travel right up until 19:00.