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  1. Updates for Friday 13 March 2015
  2. More updates from 07:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Conor Macauley and Ciaran Daly

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Goodnight!

    Ciaran Daly

    BBC News NI

    That's BBC News NI Live over for another week. We'll leave you with this picture that Mervyn Kennedy sent us of Newcastle, County Down in the shadow of Slieve Donard.

    Donard and Newcastle

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

  2. Seal of approval for Lagan banks:

    BBC News NI's Seamus Kelters tweets: Far from home, about seven miles inland, between Seymour Hill and Lisburn, a big seal basks on the Lagan's banks.

    Seal on the banks of the Lagan
  3. Weekend weather:

    Geoff Maskell

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's been a beautiful day across Northern Ireland, dry and sunny. The ridge of high pressure that gave us such a settled day today remains in place overnight.

    Evening weather 13 March 2015

    It's going to be cloudier tomorrow with highs of 7C or 8C. Sunday is going to be cloudier again and a cooler day with a risk of showers in places.

  4. Kenny and Adams clash over abuse claims

    RTÉ reports that Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says he doesn't believe Gerry Adams when he says that he did not know about republican involvement in sex abuse cases.

    Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams

    Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has dismissed Mr Kenny's remarks as "opportunistic and demeaning to his office".

  5. Eight year sentence for stabbing:

    A man who stabbed an east Belfast shop owner with a hunting knife after he was bitten by one of the owner's dogs has been given an eight-year prison sentence.

    tackle shop

    Raymond Allardyce, 50, was charged with attempting to murder Denis Wolsey at his tackle shop last June.

  6. Welfare talks continuing

    Peter Robinson has said it would be "absurd" to go to the White House in Washington on St Patrick's Day if there is still a crisis in Northern Ireland.

    First Minister and Deputy First Minister

    The First Minister also said that he did not expect a resolution tonight due to the amount of work needed to resolve outstanding issues.

  7. Clarke slips out of contention:

    BBC Sport NI

    Darren Clarke slipped out of contention at the Tshwane Open in South Africa after carding two double-bogeys in his last six holes in the second round.

    Darren Clarke plays a shot during Friday's second round

    Europe's Ryder Cup captain was six under for the round after 12 holes but he finished with a three-under-par 67.

  8. Hospital apologises over meal choice

    The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust says food choice was more limited today at the Royal Victoria Hospital due to the strike.

    A hospital meal

    It has apologised to any patient who was unhappy with what they were offered,

  9. Appointments cancelled:

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    Approximately 1,900 outpatient appointments and 200 inpatient and day case procedures were postponed due to today's industrial action.

    Royal Victoria Hospital

    Those appointments will be rescheduled.

  10. Union lauds public strike action:

    The union Unite has praised the "overwhelming" turnout for public sector strikes that have taken place across Northern Ireland today.

    John mcmenamin maintenance fitter with western trust

    A Unite spokesman said: "Today showed that more and more people around Northern Ireland are demanding an alternative to endless austerity."

  11. Foyle bridge congestion:

    PSNI Foyle tweets:

    PSNI Foyle
  12. McGuinness hails "good work" done:

    Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness said that "good work has been done between the DUP and Sinn Féin" to resolve the crisis surrounding welfare reform.

    Martin mcGuinness

    Mr McGuinness said work was done "with a view to putting us in a position where we can report some progress to party leaders".

  13. Robinson: `Not without hope` on welfare row

    Peter Robinson says he's `not without hope but there's a long way to go` on sorting out the welfare reform row.


    He and Martin McGuinness had several hours of talks today ahead of a meeting with the other party leaders at Stormont around now.

  14. Welfare talks "progress":

    Chris Page

    BBC News NI Political Correspondent

    Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness have appeared together at Stormont and said they've been "making progress" in talks on welfare reform.

    Stormont Castle

    The five Executive parties are holding another meeting over the political deadlock on changes to benefits.

  15. Archive: O'Connell's knockout debut

    BBC NI Archive

    Joe Schmidt's "fantastic leader" Paul O'Connell will make his 100th appearance for Ireland tomorrow against Wales. But our archive shows he suffered concussion during his debut in 2002.

    Paul O'Connell

    The second row got an elbow to the head early on. He's since admitted that had no knowledge of scoring a try.

  16. Ireland face biggest match in their history:

    BBC Sport NI

    Ireland's final World Cup Pool B match against Pakistan is the biggest in their history, says batsman Ed Joyce.

    Ed Joyce made a century against Zimbabwe

    The Irish, who have beaten West Indies, Zimbabwe and the UAE, will reach the quarter-finals with victory in Adelaide on Sunday.

  17. Young engineer of the year:

    A Northern Ireland teenager who invented a machine to help prevent farm accidents has been named UK young engineer of the year.

    Colum McNally

    Colum McNally, 18, from Newry, designed and built a hydraulic machine for log splitting and fence building.

  18. Unions respond to `major incident` extension.

    Unison has responded to to the decision by the ambulance service to extend the major incident, saying there has now been a "serious loss of good will among ambulance staff."

    Unison staff on the picket line at the Mater Hospital in north Belfast
  19. Quarry fatality confirmed

    The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland has confirmed that a man has been killed in an industrial accident at a quarry near Magherafelt.

  20. Major incident to continue:

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has concluded talks today with Trade Union representatives about the ongoing major incident.


    It says only around 10% of the 41 ambulance crews were willing to remain on duty to answer life-threatening and serious calls if the major incident was stood down. It has decided to keep the major incident in place.

  21. Gold Cup Champion 2015

    Coneygree has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

    The Gold Cup

    AP McCoy finished well down the field in his final Gold Cup.

  22. Gold Cup farewell:

    It's almost time for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. This is AP McCoy's last ride at the famous racing festival and he'll be on Carlingford Lough.

    Tony McCoy

    We'll keep you updated with his and everyone else's fortunes.

  23. Mother's Day

    BBC NI Archive

    Don't forget it's Mother's Day this Sunday. You might be wondering what makes the ideal gift for the discerning maternal figure in your life.


    Well, this archive footage shows the must-have gadgets for modern mothers of 1936. Now, where to find a pram windscreen these days?....

  24. Wonder wall:

    Thanks to Mr J for sending us this spring-time snap of a gap in the Mourne walls.

    Mourne wall

    You can email your pictures to

  25. Somme stamp commissioned:

    A new stamp has been commissioned in the Republic of Ireland to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

    Battle of the Somme

    An Post, the Irish postal service, said the specially-designed stamp would be released in September 2016.

  26. No problem, Houston:

    An Armagh student is blasting off to space school.

    Amy Anderson from Southern Regional College's Armagh campus was selected for an intensive two-week placement to the United Space School in Houston, Texas.

    Mission to mars

    The placement in July will see 40 students from 25 countries participate. Students will also meet with astronauts, space doctors, spacesuit designers and geologists.

  27. Extension of M2 bus lane proposed:

    Newtownabbey Times

    The Newtownabbey Times reports that the hard shoulder between Sandyknowes and Greencastle could be used as a bus lane, potentially reducing the time it takes to get into the city centre by around 10 to 15 minutes.

    Bus lane in Belfast city centre
  28. Irish music night on BBC4:

    From the classical brilliance of James Galway to the thumping bass lines of Phil Lynott, it's Irish Music night on BBC4.

    BBC Music

    It kicks off at 20:00 tonight and includes a documentary charting the tale of Irish rock from Belfast and Dublin; a film on Cavan four-piece, The Strypes; and a compilation of the finest rock offerings recorded at the BBC.

  29. Quinn to make Tyrone debut:

    BBC Sport NI

    Tyrone manager has handed a Football League debut to Dwayne Quinn for Sunday's game against Cork in Omagh. He's one of three changes to the side.

    Dwayne Quinn

    Derry have also made two changes for their clash against Monaghan at Clones.

  30. Ireland's showdown in Cardiff:

    BBC Sport NI

    It's the big one tomorrow - Ireland take on Wales in Cardiff hoping to keep their Grand Slam dream alive in the Six Nations.

    Paul O'Connell

    BBC Sport have put together a preview to whet your appetite until kick-off at 14:30 tomorrow.

  31. McPeakes in studio:

    BBC Talkback

    The McPeakes performed live in the Talkback studio today - you can watch a snippet of their performance or listen to the whole thing by listening back to today's show.

  32. 'Economics of madhouse':

    Keiron Tourish

    BBC News NI

    Trade unionist Liam Gallagher has described the decision to cut 20,000 jobs in public sector as "the economics of the madhouse".

    Liam Gallager

    "The rich will be rewarded with corporation tax while workers will suffer," he said.

  33. 'Stute feeling pressure:

    BBC Sport NI

    Institute manager Paul Kee admits the pressure of being bottom of the Premiership table is proving "a bit much" for some of his young players.

    Paul Kee

    "There's a mindset in the changing room right now which we have to try to lift," he says.

  34. Rallies across NI:

    Thousands are converging on city and town centres across Northern Ireland as part of today's public sector strike.


    Our pictures show rallies in Belfast (left), Londonderry (top) and Enniskillen.

  35. Guildhall rally:

    Hundreds of striking public sector workers gathered in Londonderry's Guildhall Square for a rally.

    Crowds in Guildhall
  36. Irish Open gets sponsor:

    BBC Sport NI

    The Irish Open has secured a title sponsor for the first time in five years.


    Dubai Duty Free has agreed to back the much-anticipated event at Royal County Down in May.

  37. NI economy 'depends' on public sector:

    Patricia McKeown of Unison tells BBC Talkback: "The economy of Northern Ireland, such as it is, depends on its public sector. You don't destroy vital jobs."

  38. Strike "not about pay":

    BBC Talkback

    James, a paramedic from Belfast, contacted BBC Talkback to say that the strike action is "not about pay".


    He said while it was a very difficult decision to take to vote for action, the paramedic said the cuts to the health service were "unsustainable" and that the public needed to be made aware of this.

  39. Somme commemorative stamp:

    The Irish postal service, An Post, will be commissioning a stamp to mark the Battle of the Somme next year. The Orange Order has welcomed the move.


    Dr David Hume said "We are delighted that An Post is to commemorate the Battle of the Somme through this stamp programme. We know it will be of great significance to the Protestant community, particularly in the border counties of the Republic of Ireland."

  40. Major incidents:

    BBC Talkback

    Patricia McKeown of Unison says that if absence of resources was the issue in calling a major incident last night, then many major incidents should have been triggered since the beginning of the year.

    Talkback 13 March 2015

    John McPoland of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) says that there were no reserves for the service to go to and that patient safety was uppermost in the minds of the NIAS.

  41. Writer's Square rally:

    Megan Mackay

    BBC News NI

    BBC News NI's Megan Mackay tweets: Unions gathered at Writer's Square before marching to Belfast City Hall #strike

    Rally writers square
  42. Unison v NIAS:

    BBC Talkback

    Patricia McKeown of Unison and John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service are debating the public service strikes happening across Northern Ireland today.

    NIAS v Unison

    Last night, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service declared a "major incident", meaning Friday's industrial action by paramedics was called off in a move described by Unison as "provocative".

  43. King's Hall set for revamp?:

    Belfast Telegraph

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that the King's Hall site in Belfast could be set for a "significant" revamp for the first time in decades as part of new development plans.

    Kings Hall, Belfast
  44. Rallies across Northern Ireland:

    BBC NI Travel

    In Belfast, a rally on the Falls Road is causing delays for traffic heading towards the city.

    Falls road

    There are also rallies starting in Londonderry, Strabane and Cookstown. Delays are possible

  45. Send us your strike comments

    Mr D Clarke emails on to comment on the ambulance strike row.

    He says the fact that paramedics were prepared to withdraw service to such an extent "shows a complete breakdown in morale".

    "I believe that pay is not the issue here but the working conditions that ambulance staff are been subjected to."

  46. Soldiers' deaths remembered:

    Relatives of soldiers from Northern Ireland who lost their lives in Afghanistan are attending a service in London.

    Rosemary and Leslie Day's daughter Channing was shot dead by an off duty Afghan policeman in Helmand province

    Among those in attendance are Rosemary and Leslie Day whose daughter Channing was shot dead by an off-duty Afghan policeman in October 2012.

  47. New Irish political party:

    A new political party has been launched in the Republic of Ireland under the name Renua Ireland.

    Renua Ireland

    Its leader Lucinda Creighton said 180 people want to be candidates for the new party.

  48. Today on Talkback:

    BBC Talkback

    BBC Talkback will be discussing the public sector strikes. We'll be joined in studio by Patricia McKeown of Unison and John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

    Public sector strikes

    NIPSA's Bumper Graham, Nigel Smyth of Northern Ireland CBI and businessman Jeffrey Peel will also be discussing the issues.

  49. Fake firearm recovered:

    PSNI Belfast CC tweets:

  50. Empty classrooms:

    Keiron Tourish

    BBC News NI

    The Model primary school in Londonderry is partially open today because a third of teachers are on strike and other staff, including classroom assistants, aren't at work either.

    Model Primary School

    The school says it can only stay open until lunchtime as it doesn't have enough cover to supervise the children.

  51. At the pickets:

    BBC Talkback

    On BBC Talkback today - we're not on strike, but we are on the picket lines.


    What do you think of the strike? You can let us know from 12:00.

  52. Ghost depots:

    Ciaran McCauley

    BBC News NI

    There's no-one about at the bus depots in Londonderry (top) and Enniskillen because of today's strike.

    Bus depots

    It's a bit eerie. If you ever wanted to know what a zombie apocalypse might look like in Northern Ireland, well here you go.

  53. Families at Afghanistan service:

    Mervyn Jess

    BBC News NI

    A service to honour UK soldiers who served in Afghanistan is about to start at St Paul's Cathedral. The service will remember those who died in the fighting.

    Afghanistan service

    Families of soldiers from Northern Ireland killed in Afghanistan are attending. They include Susan and Gordon Dalzell (left) and Rosemary and Leslie Day - David Dalzell and Channing Day died in 2011 and 2012 while serving.

  54. McCoy's final day at Cheltenham:

    BBC Sport NI

    Retiring 19-time champion jockey AP McCoy rides at Cheltenham for the last time today - he's on Carlingford Lough in the Gold Cup.

    Tony McCoy

    He's currently a 10-1 shot to end his final Gold Cup race as a winner.

  55. 'Pain and hardship':

    Former health minister Edwin Poots has criticised today's strikes on the Stephen Nolan show.

    Edwin Poots

    "This will not drive things home at Westminster that there is a problem in Northern Ireland," he said. "All it will do is cause pain and hardship to the most vulnerable."

  56. Ireland repeals thousands of laws:

    Over 5,000 obsolete laws have been repealed in the Republic of Ireland, including one stating the the Queen is the "king of Ireland".

    Laws repealed

    It's the largest repeal of outdated laws carried out in any country.

  57. 'Unfair wages':

    Keiron Tourish

    BBC News NI

    John McMenamin, a maintenance fitter from the Western Trust, is on strike at Altnagelvin Hospital.

    John McMenamin

    He says: "I'm on strike because of unfair wages and because the cost of living is making life very difficult."

  58. Nipsa picket in east Belfast:

    Megan Mackay

    BBC News NI

    Here's some footage of the Nipsa picket line outside Greenwood primary school in east Belfast.

    Nipsa picket
  59. Tough run-in for Crues:

    BBC Sport NI

    Irish Premiership leaders Crusaders will face away games against their three closest title rivals in the first post-split league fixtures.

    Crusaders Linfield
  60. Picket at Ashfield:

    Megan Mackay

    BBC News NI

    Picket line and buses at Ashfield Girls School in east Belfast. It closes at 13:30 today.

    Ashfield Girls School
  61. Taxi frustration:

    Sean O'Halloran

    BBC News NI

    A Londonderry taxi firm tells me they're "ten times quieter" than usual.

    The radio operator says he has locked his door to keep grumpier (than usual) drivers from getting to him and stocked up on canned goods and freeze dried coffee!

  62. Dark Knight on strike:

    Louise Cullen

    BBC NI News

    Workers at the picket line will be heartened to see they've got support from Gotham's most famous crimefighter at the Translink depot on the Falls Road.

  63. 'Further action':

    Julian Fowler

    BBC News NI

    Ambulance staff in Enniskillen warn the decision to declare a "major incident" will lead to further industrial action.


    They compare the wage of a fully trained paramedic at £!5 per hour with a school caretaker at £17 per hour. They claim the service is at breaking point 365 days a year, with patients left waiting.

  64. Ambulance talks resume:

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    Talks between the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and unions will resume at 10:00.

  65. Dundrum crash:

    BBC NI Travel

    A crash between a lorry and two cars on the A2 in Dundrum is causing delays. The cars have been moved but it may be 10:00 before the lorry is moved.

  66. M1 crash:

    Trafficwatch NI tweets:

  67. Doherty doubt for Derry:

    BBC Sport NI

    Goalkeeper Gerard Doherty is an injury doubt for Derry City's game against League of Ireland champions Dundalk in the Brandywell tonight.

    Gerard Doherty

    Doherty has a hip problem and could miss out but Ryan McBride and Mark Timlin return after suspension.

  68. Empty bus lanes:

    Mark Simpson

    BBC News NI

    Cars can use bus lanes during today's bus strike. But not many are doing so. Old habits die hard.

    Bus lanes
  69. Call to resolve welfare reform:

    Four leading business organisations in Northern Ireland have called on politicians to resolve the deadlock at Stormont over welfare changes.


    Writing to the first and deputy first ministers, the business leaders said it had "placed us at another crossroads in Northern Ireland's progress towards a better future for all".

  70. Friday's forecast:

    Angie Phillips

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's fine and sunny today after a frosty start. Frost returns tonight especially in the west. It'll be cloudier and less cold in the east.

    Friday weather
  71. Banners up:

    Louise Cullen

    BBC NI News

    Pickets have formed at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Unison banners have gone up.

    Louise Cullen
  72. Striking teachers in Derry:

    BBC Radio Foyle

    Around two dozen people have gathered at St Patrick's Primary School in Londonderry. BBC Radio Foyle reporter Lauren Miller is at the picket line.

    St Patrick's PS

    INTO representative Annette Comey said: "The children stand to suffer more by the result of these cuts - that's our justification for today. We would hope parents see that."

  73. School all quiet:

    BBC News NI's Megan Mackay tweets: Lagan College senior school open, junior school closed. Empty bus area usually busy bringing kids to school

    Lagan College
  74. Management 'damaging relations':

    Patricia McKeown from Unison tells Good Morning Ulster that the actions of the ambulance service in calling a "major incident" could be "irreparably damaging industrial relations".

    She said the move was a "cynical attempt to strikebreak".

  75. Strike silver linings:

    Some people are making the most of today's strike - 'Self-employed Michael' texted Good Morning Ulster to say: "Just had a spin around City Hall using all the bus lanes - great craic!"

  76. Fermanagh pickets:

    Julian Fowler

    BBC News NI

    Early start at the Unison picket line at South West Acute Hospital.

    Fermanagh picket
  77. 'No ambulances in Belfast':

    Last night the Ambulance Service tweeted "two cities and many towns without ambulance cover is the only reason NIAS declared major incident".

    John McPoland

    On Good Morning Ulster, John McPoland said at midnight there were seven crews available for all emergencies across Northern Ireland. He added that there were "no crews to respond to any emergencies in Belfast".

  78. Afghanistan tribute:

    UK soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan are being remembered today during services to mark the end of British involvement in the war.

    Afghanistan soldier deaths

    We have profiled the soldiers from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and those who served in the Royal Irish Regiment who died in the fighting.

  79. People staying in?

    Louise Cullen

    BBC NI News

    A taxi driver tells me Fridays are usually quieter than the rest of the week, but he thinks today is quieter again - he reckons most people have taken the day off.

  80. Lights off:

    BBC NI Travel

    The traffic lights aren't working at the junction of Andersonstown Road and Finaghy Road South.

    The lights at the M2 off-slip at Duncrue Street are also not working because of a crash last night and won't be fixed until later today.

  81. Unions hit out at 'major incident':

    Unions have hit out at the Ambulance Service for calling a "major incident" last night that forced ambulance staff to continue working despite a planned strike.


    Patricia McKeown of Unison said it was a "provocative" move and that there are "no indications that such a major incident exists". Kevin McAdam of Unite accused management of "pulling a stunt".

  82. Web Summit events:

    The organisers of Dublin's Web Summit are to hold two conferences in Belfast in June.

    Web summit

    Web Summit has grown to be one of Europe's largest technology conferences, attracting more than 20,000 people in 2014.

  83. Strangford ferry off:

    BBC NI Travel

    The Strangford ferry has been suspended because of today's strike.

  84. Pickets getting ready:

    We're receiving our first photos ahead of strike pickets that being at 08:00. BBC News NI's Louise Cullen sends us this picture from the Child Maintenance Service on Great Victoria Street.

    Strike CSM
  85. Services off:

    BBC NI Travel

    Remember - there will be no buses or trains today and this includes all services to the airports.

  86. Deserted bus stops:

    Mark Simpson

    BBC News NI

    It's normally the busiest bus stop in Belfast. Not today.

    Bus stop
  87. Red Noses in the studio:

    Good Morning Ulster

    On Good Morning Ulster, the Thought for the Day came from Rev Elizabeth Hanna and she turned up in the studio in all her Comic Relief finery.

    Elizabeth Hanna

    She was doing her bit to help promote Red Nose Day - if you're doing anything to raise money today, send your pictures to or tweet us @bbcnewsni.

  88. Post update

    BBC NI Travel

    In Belfast, the traffic signals at the junction of the M2 off-slip and Duncrue Street are not working because of a crash.

  89. What's affected by the strike?

    Some public sector unions are taking industrial action today - but how will the strike affect you?


    Read our rundown of how public services - from schools to scheduled bus services - are being affected. There's also more information on the NI Direct website.

  90. Ambulance Service 'major incident':

    The Ambulance Service last night declared a "major incident", which means paramedics who were due to begin strike action at midnight continued working.


    Management said it was forced into the measure to "maintain a safe level of ambulance cover". Some paramedics described the response as "despicable" and a "purely tactical measure".

  91. Good morning

    Ciaran McCauley

    BBC News NI

    We'll have all the news, sport, weather and travel - and of course any updates on developments in and effects of today's public sector strike - right up until 19:00.