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  1. Updates for Wednesday 18 March 2015
  2. More updates from 07:00 tomorrow

Live Reporting

By Dave Culbert and Ciaran Daly

All times stated are UK

Get involved


Ciaran McCauley


It's been a glorious afternoon across much of Northern Ireland, as this picture taken in Craigavon by Cameron Mitchell shows.

Cameron Mitchell

We'll be back from 07:00 tomorrow with more news, sport, weather and travel.

Cold night, sunny tomorrow:

Barra Best

BBC News NI Weather Presenter

It'll be chilly night with clear skies tonight and some fog patches in the morning, but expect another dry and sunny day tomorrow.

Barra Best

Closer to sainthood:

The Irish founder of a global order of nuns has moved a step closer to becoming a saint after being declared venerable by Pope Francis.

Mary Aikenhead, born in Cork in 1787, is one of seven figures just awarded a degree of heroic virtue in the Vatican.

Finance minister on budget:

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton


Simon Hamilton
Ciaran McCauley

Budget explained:

Today's news agenda has been dominated by the George Osborne's latest Budget - but

how does it affect you?


BBC News online has rounded up a summary of his key announcements.

Pacts 'not anti-democratic':

Peter Robinson has rejected

criticism that electoral pacts are anti-democratic by Alliance MP Naomi Long.

Robinson Nesbitt

He said: "All it shows is the level of hypocrisy in the Alliance Party because they did exactly that in 2001 when it withdrew in order to depose Bob McCartney."

Newsline tonight:

BBC Newsline presenter Tara Mills

Tara Mills
Ciaran McCauley

Lighthouse fight:

A storm is brewing in County Down over a fight to replace a traditional lighthouse beam with a new, cheaper lighting system.

St John's Lighthouse

St John's Point lighthouse at Killough dates back to 1839. It was used as a marker on a test run for the Titanic.

Hungry for publicity?

Julian O'Neill

BBC News NI Business Correspondent

Out on a job for BBC Newsline, Julian O'Neill

tweets this photo.

Julian with babies

Let's hope his young interviewee doesn't bite off more than he can chew!

Budget criticised:

The SDLP and Sinn Féin have hit out at

George Osborne's budget announced earlier today.

Durkan Flanagan

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said that the Chancellor's "smuggery" about who would benefit masked how little he had to say about public sector cuts. Sinn Féin's Phil Flanagan said the Chancellor was "determined to continue on the failed path of austerity".

Budget 'points to challenges':

Finance minister Simon Hamilton says today's budget "provides boost in public spending but points to challenges ahead".

Simon Hamilton

He also warned that coming years will continue to see reductions in public spending and that "tough choices and difficult decisions lie ahead".

M3 lane blocked:

BBC NI Travel

In Belfast, a minor collision on the M3 heading towards the Westlink is blocking the inside lane.

Ballycarry crash:

Andy West


One woman and one man were involved in a serious two-vehicle crash on the Larne Road at Ballycarry. The road is open.

Ballycarry crash

Eclipse watch:

Barra Best

BBC News NI Weather Presenter

Here's the time and amount of eclipse you'll get in your area on Friday morning. There'll probably be too much cloud across Ireland though.


Ferguson and Clingan out for NI:

BBC Sport NI

Sammy Clingan and Shane Ferguson have

withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad for the games against Scotland and Finland because of knee injuries.

Shane Ferguson
Press Eye

Burnley's Daniel Lafferty and Paul Paton of Dundee United have been called up as their replacements.

Corporation tax warning:

John Campbell

BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

The Chancellor has warned Northern Ireland's political parties that they must reach agreement on welfare changes if they are to get power over corporation tax.


George Osborne made the comments in his final budget before the election.

At the races:

BBC NI Archive

Earlier today it was reported that an Aston Martin Ulster racing car is

up for sale. The car was involved in the Ards TT races, which gave us an excuse to dip into our archive.

Ulster TT

This Pathé footage shows the Ulster Tourist Trophy at the Ards Circuit on 3 September 1934. Judging by the where the spectators are, health and safety wasn't a high priority at the time.

Crash victim named:


man killed in a road crash on the A4 at Brookeborough this morning has been named as Jamie Alexander Nelson.


Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash.

Coalisland security alert over:


security alert in Coalisland is over, police say. An object spotted on a car by a member of the public has been found to not be suspicious.

'Serious' crash at Ballycarry:

Larne Road at Ballycarry has been closed after a serious two-vehicle crash, police say.

Motorists are being advised to find alternative routes.

'Bring it on':

BBC News NI's south east reporter Gordon Adair


Gordon Adair tweet

'Desire' for unionist pacts:

Peter Robinson says there is a "considerable desire" in the unionist community for united unionist candidates to maximise votes in the election.

Peter Robinson

He said there is "ample evidence" that the community wants "unionists to be working together to ensure we have proper representation in Westminster".

St Patrick's Day arrests:

Police say 33 people were arrested in Belfast during St Patrick's Day yesterday for a range of offences including drugs possession, robbery, assault and criminal damage.

All 33 were arrested in south and east Belfast.

Broken leg in assault:

Newtownabbey Times

The Newtownabbey Times

reports that a man sustained a broken leg and had to receive hospital treatment after an alleged assault at a pub in Mallusk, County Antrim at the weekend.

Police confirmed that a 35-year-old man was arrested in connection with the alleged incident and has since been released from on bail.

Jamie Bryson found guilty:

Union flag protestor Jamie Bryson has been convicted of taking part in unlawful public processions.

Jamie Bryson

The 24-year-old has also been found guilty of obstructing traffic during a demonstration in Belfast. The judge said Bryson's evidence "lacked any real substance or credibility".

Fine weather for farmers

Spring is in the air and the sun is shining.

Maghaberry field
Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker has sent us this

picture of a newly ploughed field in Maghaberry.

Assault arrests:

Police have a arrested a 31-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman after two women and a man were assaulted in the Donegall Quay of Belfast.

The assaults happened at about 02:50.

Ferguson hopes for cup heroics:

BBC Sport NI

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson hopes his side can continue their Irish Cup heroics

by beating Portadown in their semi-final at the Oval on Saturday.

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson
Press Eye

The Sky Blues beat Cliftonville in the sixth round thanks to an injury-time goal from David Cushley, and then saw off Harland and Wolff Welders in the quarter-finals with a strike by Gary Thompson in added time.

Budget 'positive' for NI:

The budget has been welcomed as "positive" by the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA).

Glyn Roberts
(C) British Broadcasting Corporation

However, Chief Executive Glyn Roberts says "greater progress" on establishing enterprise zones in Northern Ireland is needed.

Robinson: Pact presents 'strong unionist voice'

You can watch DUP leader Peter Robinson explain why he thinks the unionist pact between the DUP and the UUP would give "a strong unionist voice across Northern Ireland."

Peter Robinson

The deal between the Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Unionist Party means there will be a single candidate from the two parties in the four constituencies.

Nicholl appointed Northern Ireland assistant manager:

BBC Sport NI

Jimmy Nicholl has been appointed as assistant manager of the Northern Ireland senior football team.

Jimmy Nicholl

Incident at Royal Victoria Hospital:

Marie-Louise Connolly

BBC News NI Health Correspondent

A man who walked into the emergency department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast last night asked the receptionist for help before making his way into the public toilets.

Royal emergency department

A spokesperson for the Belfast Health Trust said the man didn't threaten staff and security were on the scene within minutes.

Homes evacuated in Coalisland:


A number of residents in nearby Chestnut Hill are being evacuated as a suspicious object is being examined in the car park of a local church on Brackaville Road in Coalisland, County Tyrone.

Arrest for man carrying gun at hospital:

Marie-Louise Connolly

BBC News NI Health Correspondent

A man was arrested at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital last night after he walked into the emergency department with a gun.

RVH entrance

Patients waiting in the reception area watched as hospital security and the PSNI spoke to the man and persuaded him to hand over the firearm.

Security alert in Coalisland:

PSNI Dungannon


PSNI Dungannon

Rise in dementia sufferers:

Mid Ulster Mail

The Mid Ulster Mail

reports that there has been an 18% rise in the number of those with dementia sufferers in the Northern Trust area covering Mid Ulster.

Computer-generated image of a human brain

There are now 2,932 patients in Mid-Ulster diagnosed with the condition according to the latest figures released by the Department of Health.

Diversions in Carrickfergus

PSNI Road Policing


PSNI Road Policing

Woman admits burning flag:

A 43-year-old woman has pleaded guilty at Londonderry Magistrates Court to setting fire to an Irish tricolour flag in the city on St Patrick's day yesterday.

Londonderry courthouse

Denise Hynds from the Fountain area of Derry pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour at Bishop Street and to carrying out a provocative act by setting fire to an Irish tricolour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

Devolution of corporation tax:

Colletta Smith


Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has urged Northern Ireland parties to stick to Stormont House deal in his budget announcement in order to get corporation tax devolved.

Budget 2015

High air pollution in Belfast:

High levels of air pollution are currently being monitored in the Belfast area and are expected to persist until Friday. Moderate levels of air pollution are being monitored in other urban centres across Northern Ireland.

air pollution

The pollution levels are the result of the cold, calm, foggy weather conditions we are currently experiencing that can lead to the build-up of local emissions from vehicles and home heating.