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  1. Updates for Wednesday 25 March 2015
  2. More updates from 07:00 on Thursday

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 day. Thanks to Andy for sending us this picture from the north coast from earlier today.

    North coast

    We'll be back again on Thursday 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. How do you catch an escaped lion-tailed monkey?

    Conor Macauley

    BBC News NI

    Lion-tailed macaques have escaped from their enclosure in Belfast zoo. But just how do you deal with such monkey business?

    Monkey capture trap

    BBC News NI Live's own Conor Macauley found out exactly how to catch an escaped lion-tailed monkey when some escaped from Belfast zoo in October 2013. Watch Conor's report from the time here.

  3. Happy birthday Hugo!

    Ahead of his big birthday outside broadcast tomorrow, Hugo Duncan was showered with hugs and cake by colleagues today.

    Hugo Duncan turns 60

    The birthday boy turns 65. Many happy returns!

  4. Gibson ruled out of Republic of Ireland qualifier:

    Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson has pulled out of Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland in Dublin because of a groin injury.

    Darron Gibson

    The Everton player has been unable to train since joining up with the squad in Malahide because of the problem, and was withdrawn on Wednesday afternoon.

  5. Tonight on BBC Newsline:

    Keiron Tourish

    BBC News NI

    The owner of a Chinese restaurant that was gutted in a fire in Londonderry earlier this month will be talking to reporter Keiron Tourish about the devastating effect of the fire tonight on BBC Newsline at 18:30.

    Mandarin Palace

    Stan Lee from the Mandarin Palace said: "I burst our crying because 25 years of my life have been spent building up this business".

  6. Minecraft in class:

    Fifty-thousand schoolchildren in Northern Ireland could soon be playing one of the world's most popular video games in class.. Licences for the game will be given to up to 240 sites in Northern Ireland.

    A screengrab from the Minecraft game

    Minecraft will be made available to every post-primary school as part of an innovative technology project.

  7. Trapped in a carpark

    The owners of a south Belfast carpark have apologised after a number of motorists were trapped inside it on Wednesday.


    The carpark, at Donegall Pass, has no permanently marked spaces. 50 vehicles were blocked in for an hour when a car was parked across their exit.

  8. Devenney confirms end to MLA role

    The DUP's Maurice Devenney has confirmed he is to step down from his role as Foyle MLA after just five months.

    Maurice Devenney

    Mr Devenney said: "I have decided to step down from this role as I want to be able to concentrate on a number of local issues in the City. This is best achieved by being based in Londonderry. "

  9. Monkeys on the run

    Two monkeys have escaped from Belfast Zoo after giving their keepers the slip.


    One of the lion-tailed macaques is being pursued along the Antrim Road in north Belfast by zoo staff, the other one is on a cliff at Cave Hill

  10. A snapshot of Northern Ireland tourism:

    BBC NI Archive

    Terence Brannigan has been appointed chairman of the board of Tourism Northern Ireland. He will take up the position on 1 April 2015.

    Antrim coast

    This archive from the British Travel Association from the 1950s was created to help promote Ulster as a tourist destination. It highlights the beauty of the north coast. It's comforting to know some things never change.

  11. Current government has not used pardons in NI:

    Chris Page

    BBC News NI Political Correspondent

    The current government has not used the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM) in relation to Northern Ireland. Yesterday Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly confirmed that he received the RPM after he was recaptured in the Netherlands in 1986.

    Gerry Kelly

    NIO records indicate that the RPM was used 18 times by the previous government. Sixteen were in relation to terrorist offences in Northern Ireland between 2000 and 2002.

  12. Court hears of abusive behaviour:

    Belfast Telegraph

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that a man was hit by a car he was allegedly trying to hijack within hours of being released from custody.

    Belfast court complex

    Kenneth Colwell, 23, shouted abuse and threats at police and medical staff trying to treat him at the city's Royal Victoria Hospital.

  13. Cave confident of Ulster win:

    BBC Sport NI

    Darren Cave says Ulster will go into Friday's Pro12 game against Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium confident that they can maintain their impressive home record.

    Darren Cave

    The centre says Ulster will concentrate on producing their best form, but expect a tough challenge from the Blues in Belfast.

  14. Safety measure at accident spot

    Work has begun to reinstate safety measures at a fatal accident blackspot on a main road in Belfast.

    Enda Dolan

    A crash barrier was removed three weeks before Enda Dolan, from Tyrone, was hit by a van as he returned to student accommodation last October.

  15. Life imprisonment for Ballymena murder:

    A 41-year old County Antrim man was jailed for life today after he admitted the murder of his partner in her Ballymena home last summer.

    Denise Dunlop

    Denise Dunlop, 32, was stabbed to death in Centuripe Avenue last June.

  16. Queens Parade Bangor planning permission:

    BBC News NI economics and business editor John Campbell tweets: DSD's latest attempt to redevelop Queens Parade in Bangor has got planning.

    Bill Clinton Bangor
  17. Further Education College statistics:

    The Department for Employment and Learning has released statistics detailing what people have been studying at further education colleges in Northern Ireland.

    FE Colleges NI

    Over the past five academic years, the number of enrolments at further education colleges decreased by 9.4% from 199,577 in 2009/10 to 180,825 in 2013/14.

  18. Scotch on the rocks:

    Northern Ireland take on Scotland tonight in a friendly match at Hampden Park but this fantastic photo from Anne Kelly shows how close the two countries really are.

    Murlough Bay, County Antrim

    In the photo taken from Murlough Bay in County Antrim you can see the lighthouse on Rathlin Island and beyond that Scotland in the background. Remember, you can send your photos to us by emailing

  19. Inquest assesses soldier's health

    A coroner has said he will reflect carefully on whether a soldier who fired a rubber bullet that killed a boy is too ill to give evidence.

    Francis Rowntree

    Coroner Jim Kitson said the inquest into the death of 11-year-old Francis Rowntree in 1972 would be "severely hampered" if the former soldier could not attend.

  20. Gildernew criticises polling station decision

    Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has criticised the decision to reinstate a polling station in Moygashel, County Tyrone., saying it was only based on a technicality.

    Michelle Gildernew

    Ms Gildernew said: "The original decision to close the polling station in Moygashel was the right one."

  21. Over 100,000 parkers penalised in 2014

    A total of 108,525 parking penalties were issued in Northern Ireland during 2014 according to figures released by the Department for Regional Development.

    Parking ticket

    That number represents an increase of just two tickets when compared to 2013. From 1 April 2015, responsibility for off-street car parks will transfer to the 11 new supercouncils.

  22. Liam Adams lawyers' claim jury was misdirected:

    Jurors who found a brother of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams guilty of raping his own daughter were not properly directed on dealing with widespread publicity in the case, the Court of Appeal heard today.

    Liam Adams

    Lawyers for Liam Adams claimed the level of press, television and radio coverage on both sides of the Irish border before he went on trial turned his case into a national issue.

  23. Police appeal for missing man:


    Police are searching for a missing man who was last seen at 07:00 on on 4 March, walking in the direction of Oxford Street in Belfast city centre.

    Missing person Belfast

    Geng Feng Shi, 23, was wearing a dark coat with a hood, blue jeans, red trainers and a red and blue baseball cap. He was also carrying a duffle bag. His family in China have not heard from him since his disappearance.

  24. Barrier was in 'hazardous condition':

    Regional Development Department official Dr Andrew Murray has told a committee that a crash barrier was removed from the Malone Road in Belfast last October because it was in a "hazardous condition".

    Andrew Murray

    He said there was no public concern about its removal until media coverage surrounding Enda Dolan, who was killed in a hit-and-run, emerged. Dr Murray said: "We don't install barriers with the benefit of hindsight."

  25. New chairman for Tourism Northern Ireland

    Terence Brannigan has been appointed chairman of the board of Tourism Northern Ireland. He will take over the position on 1 April 2015.

    Glentoran chairman Terence Brannigan
  26. Jail for stubbing cigarette out on police officer

    A woman, who stubbed a lit cigarette out on a police officer's collar and tried to kick another officer, has been jailed for 10 months.

    Kathy Shannon, 29, from Mount Eden, Limavady, County Londonderry, admitted the offences.

  27. Polling station confusion:

    BBC News NI political correspondent Gareth Gordon tweets:

  28. Anderson calls for Israel sanctions:

    Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson has called on the EU to impose sanctions against Israel over what she described as "its refusal to live up to its obligations to the peace process".

    Martina Anderson

    The MEP, who has been banned from entering Gaza three times, said she wanted the EU to send a "clear message to Israel".

  29. Elliott critical of Electoral Commission:

    Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has said that the two-week consultation the Electoral Commission will run regarding the retention of Howard Memorial Primary School as a polling station could be nothing more than "a token gesture".

    Tom Elliott

    Mr Elliott said: "How can 3,000 people be consulted in only 14 days? The entire process has been slapdash."

  30. Joint initiative to tackle fuel laundering

    Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill says that a new joint British-Irish initiative to tackle fuel laundering is a step forward in the fight against rural crime.

    Fuel laundering plant

    On 1 April the British and Irish governments will implement a new product to mark rebated fuels, including off-road diesel commonly known as 'red diesel' in a move designed to boost the fight against laundering.

    Laundering is the removal of marker dye that indicates that fuel is intended for agricultural and industrial use and is not therefore liable for the duty paid on regular diesel.

  31. Roads reopened:

    Trafficwatch NI

    The Gransha Road in Comber and the New Forge Road in Magheralin have both reopened following traffic collisions this morning.

  32. Liam Adams appeal begins:

    An appeal has begun into the conviction of Liam Adams, the brother of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, on sexual offences.

    Liam Adams

    Liam Adams was jailed in November 2013 for the rape and abuse of his daughter Aine when she was a child. A defence barrister told judges there were several problems with the conviction, including media coverage.

  33. Ford warns of £18m fines:

    Alliance Leader David Ford has warned that putting a deal off on welfare reform until after the election will cost £18m in fines to Westminster.

    David Ford

    Mr Ford said: "We will be paying £2m a week in fines to Westminster until welfare is agreed. This figure will continue to rise for every week that a deal isn't done."

  34. Eight drugs arrests in Italy:

    Police say eight people in Italy have now been arrested as part of a major international operation into the supply of 'skunk' cannabis in Northern Ireland.


    Four men and two women have also been arrested in Northern Ireland, after £800,000 worth of cannabis and cash were found yesterday.

  35. Rain on the way:

    Cecilia Daly

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    BBC News NI weather presenter Cecilia Daly tweets: Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts - this is where the rain is now, due to reach the east coast this evening.

    Weather 25 March 2015
  36. Guilty plea over E.coli food poisoning:

    The former owner of Belfast restaurant Flicks, which closed in 2012 after an outbreak of E.coli, has pleaded guilty to 11 food hygiene breaches.


    Michael McAdam, who also runs Yorkgate Movie House, appeared at Belfast Crown Court. Flicks closed its doors voluntarily after the outbreak, which was later described as the worst case of E.coli in Northern Ireland's history.

  37. Work begins on crash barrier:

    The Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has said that work to replace a crash barrier in south Belfast has started "in the last couple of days".


    Safety measures were removed from the Malone Road last October, just weeks before an 18-year-old student was knocked down and killed at the area.

  38. King Henry's glorious reign ends:

    BBC Sport NI

    Legendary Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin has brought a stellar inter-county career to an end by announcing his retirement.

    Henry Shefflin won 10 All-Ireland titles with Kilkenny

    The 36-year-old, nicknamed King Henry, has been described as the best hurler ever.

    He won a record 10 All-Ireland titles with the Cats to go along with 13 Leinster titles and five national league triumphs.

  39. Dodds raises pardons at PMQs:

    Chris Page

    BBC News NI Political Correspondent

    DUP MP Nigel Dodds has raised the issue of Gerry Kelly's royal pardon at Prime Minister's Questions. He asked David Cameron to list "all those other Sinn Féin members and leading republicans" who had received one.


    Mr Cameron said he would "look very carefully at what the member asks and what more we can do to be transparent".

  40. McNarry criticises transport minister

    UKIP's David McNarry has called the Department of Regional Development's projected £30m overspend as "gung-ho, wing and a prayer economics" at a sitting of the Regional Development Committee.

    David McNarry

    Mr McNarry also questioned Minister Danny Kennedy on how long he was going to put up with what he called "this loss-making company" in relation to Translink.

  41. Odyssey Pavilion debt:

    BBC News NI's Economics and Business Editor John Campbell tweets:

    JP Biz
  42. Jackson returns for Ulster:

    BBC Sport NI

    Ulster have been boosted by the return of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding ahead of Friday night's Pro12 clash against Cardiff Blues in Belfast.

    Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

    Fly-half Jackson and centre Olding have been out since sustaining elbow injuries in January's defeat by Toulon in the European Champions Cup.

  43. Royal pardons on BBC Talkback:

    BBC Talkback tweets:

    Talkback 25 March 2015
  44. Blue skies at the Narrows:

    Emma Gornall tweeted us this great picture of Portaferry under blue skies this morning

  45. Howard Primary School reinstated as polling station:

    Howard Memorial Primary School in Moygashel, County Tyrone has been reinstated as a polling station. In January, the school was dropped after a loyalist protest during last year's elections.

    Howard Primary School in Moygashel, County Tyrone

    The electoral commission says that voters weren't properly consulted about the change. The Chief Electoral Officer has announced that a consultation will run from 26 March until 9 April.

  46. Public Inquiry for York Street Interchange

    Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has announced that he will hold a public inquiry into the proposals for the York Street Interchange in Belfast, expected to cost between £125m and £165m.

    York Street INterchange

    The Public Inquiry is likely to be scheduled for the late autumn 2015.

  47. Britain to follow NI's super councils model:

    Almost half of the council leaders in England Scotland and Wales say they expect to follow Northern Ireland's lead and become part of merged super-councils by 2020 according to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers survey.

    Northern Ireland’s new super council boundaries map

    In Britain, nearly half of council leaders (47%) expect their council to be merged into a larger, combined authority by 2020 because of financial pressures.

  48. Incorrect water bills:

    Irish Water says incorrect water bills are to be sent to thousands of households in the Republic of Ireland.


    Among more than 1.7 million households that will receive bills over an eight-week period starting next week, are about 700,000 that haven't registered with the company. Irish Water said it had to operate on the basis of incomplete information.

  49. Lane reopened:

    PSNI Craigavon tweets:

    Road reopened
  50. Cash and drugs seized:

    Police say £800,000 worth of 'skunk' cannabis and a sum of cash have been seized after 10 searches across Northern Ireland yesterday. It was part of a joint operation with the National Crime Agency and Italian police.


    Two people were arrested in Italy, while four men and two women were detained in Northern Ireland.

  51. Money to spare:

    Belfast Telegraph

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that people in Northern Ireland have £250 to spare every month after paying all their bills, coming third highest in the UK behind London and Yorkshire.

    Sterling bank notes
  52. Civil service staff figures:

    BBC News NI's Business and Economics Editor John Campbell tweets:

  53. Cloud moving in:

    Angie Phillips

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's been a sunny morning, but cloud is gradually moving in from the west. It's set to become breezy and wet this evening with possible sleet and hill snow.

  54. £800,000 of cannabis found in drugs searches:

    Six people have been arrested after an international joint drugs operation by the PSNI, the National Crime Agency and Italian police.

    'Skunk' cannabis estimated to be worth about £800,000 was seized after 10 searches across Northern Ireland yesterday. Police say they believe they've discovered the source of a "major illegal drugs supply".

  55. Magheralin crash:

    BBC NI Travel

    There's been a one-vehicle road crash on the New Forge Road in Magheralin. The road is currently blocked and delays are expected.

  56. 'Not enough care staff' to cope:

    The Patient and Client Council says a report by Northern Ireland's health regulator, which said hospitals are relying heavily on temporary staff, shows the need for more to be done to improve patient experience and safety.

    Doctor with clipboard
    Image caption: In the past year 1,935 people used the Patient and Client Council complaints support service.

    Head of operations Louise Skelly said the RQIA report showed that "people feel hospitals do not have enough nursing and medical staff to cope with demands on the service".

  57. Arrests in 'major' drugs operation:

    PSNI tweets:

    Drugs arrest
  58. Swimming star hopeful:

    BBC Sport NI

    County Down swimmer Bethany Firth is hoping to perform well as part of Team GB at this week's Para-Swimming International in Glasgow.

    Bethany Firth

    The 19-year-old won 100m backstroke gold for Ireland at London 2012, but opted to switch nationalities in 2013.

  59. 'Viable device' found:

    Police say a viable device has been found after a security alert in north Belfast last night. It was found in a garden at about 22:00, after police received a report that a pipe bomb had been thrown at a house in Voltaire Gardens.

    A number of homes were evacuated while Army bomb experts made the device safe.

  60. Tattoo removal costs 'thousands':

    Stephen Nolan Show

    BBC Radio Ulster

    A Nolan Show investigation has revealed that 1,233 people in Northern Ireland have had tattoos removed on the NHS since 2010, at a cost of thousands of pounds.


    We're asking if it's fair for taxpayers to foot the bill for getting rid of unwanted tattoos.

  61. Islandmagee drilling plans:

    Carrick Times

    The Carrick Times reports that residents in Islandmagee are to be told of proposals to drill a salt core test well in the area.

    The paper says a developer is planning to create seven underground caverns to store natural gas under Larne Lough.

  62. New mayor for Belfast:

    Sinn Féin councillor Arder Carson has been elected as the lord mayor of Belfast City Council.

    Arder Carson

    Mr Carson represents Upper Falls and will take up office on 1 April when the new Belfast City Council comes into being. He says he wants to make the office "accessible to all communities in Belfast".

  63. Lurgan collision:


    There's been a two-vehicle collision on Tandragee Road in Lurgan. The road is not closed at present, but some delays should be expected.

  64. Road closure:

    BBC NI Travel

    The Gransha Road in Comber has been closed in the Dundonald direction due to a collision close to the junction at Glen Road. Motorists are being advised to seek an alternative route.

  65. Last Titanic letter:

    Kevin Sharkey

    BBC News NI

    I've been lucky enough to get a glimpse of the last letter penned on board the Titanic, before it goes on display later today in Belfast.


    The letter sold at auction last year for almost £120,000. It's being loaned to Titanic Belfast for five years.

  66. Titanic letter to go on show:

    Good Morning Ulster

    The last letter ever written onboard the Titanic is to go on display in Belfast today. It was written by Esther Hart and her daughter Eva just eight hours before the ship struck an iceberg.

    The letter

    The letter is being loaned to Titanic Belfast by Scottish businessman Garreth Wood, who bought it at an auction last year. We'll hear from him shortly.

  67. Sunny side up:

    Some of you have already been out and about this morning taking a few sunny snaps. Thanks to David Scott for this great view of Rathfriland.

  68. Hospital staffing 'pressure':

    The chief executive of Northern Ireland's health regulator says hospitals here are relying heavily on temporary staff. A report by the RQIA found staffing had become a crucial issue in hospital care for older people.

    Hospital beds in ward

    Glenn Houston said: "I think this is evidence of the kind of pressure which the health service is under and the difficulties that ward managers have sometimes just filling basic shift patterns."

  69. Football friendly:

    Northern Ireland take on Scotland tonight in an international friendly at Hampden Park, ahead of Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Finland.

    Paddy McNair

    Manchester United defender Paddy McNair is expected to make his debut for the squad. Kick-off is at 19:45.

  70. Staffing 'crucial' care issue:

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    Northern Ireland's health regulators say staffing has become a crucial issue in how acute hospitals are caring for older people.


    The RQIA said it carried out inspections on 11 hospitals and found there was a heavy reliance on temporary staff and a lack of beds in appropriate wards.

  71. Super sunrise:

    Off to a bright start today, as this picture of a stunning sunrise in Carrickfergus show (thanks to Mr C for the snap).


    So it's looking like a promising morning, but will it stay that way? Check out the latest BBC News NI weather forecast.

  72. Roads busy:

    Trafficwatch NI

    Traffic is busy on the usual routes into Belfast: M1, M2, Westlink, Sydenham Bypass, A2 Shore Road out of Carrickfergus and on the A1 towards Sprucefield.

  73. Bishops receive city freedom:

    Lauren Millar

    BBC Radio Foyle

    Two retired Londonderry bishops who are also good friends have received the freedom of their city.

    Derry bishops

    Catholic bishop Dr Edward Daly and his Church of Ireland counterpart James Mehaffey were honoured at a special ceremony last night. I'll have more on BBC Radio Foyle after 08:00.

  74. Road surfacing staff face cuts:

    A body representing road surfacing contractors is heading to Stormont today to highlight the threat of upcoming redundancies. Gordon Best from the Quarry Products Association told Good Morning Ulster that 200 jobs could be lost by Easter, because of cuts to Transport NI's budget.

  75. New jobs for Bangor opticians:

    Clodagh Rice

    Business Reporter, BBC News NI

    Telford Opticians is opening a new branch in Bangor and creating three new jobs in an investment of £100,000.


    The company set up shop 16 years ago in Newtownards and already employs 32 people across its two branches.

  76. Widespread frost:

    Angie Phillips

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    Quite a widespread frost this morning, with the risk of the odd patch of freezing fog or a few icy patches, especially in the north west where are still a few showers.


    Otherwise, it's dry and a bright morning with good spells of sunshine, but temperatures will stay below double digits for the most part.

  77. Rail line disruption:

    NI Railways tweets:

    NI Railways
  78. Icy start:

    Trafficwatch NI tweets:

  79. Support for 'gay cake' bakery:

    There has been a major show of support for Ashers Baking Company, the County Antrim bakery that refused to make a cake bearing a slogan supporting gay marriage.

    Crowds at Waterfront

    More than 2,000 people attended an event at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast last night, ahead of an Equality Commission case against the bakery later this week.

    Previously, gay rights campaigners have said the issue is not about same sex marriage, but about providing goods, facilities and services.

  80. 113 college jobs at risk:

    Belfast Metropolitan College says up to 113 jobs are at risk because it is facing a £2.6m budget cut from the Stormont assembly.

    The new Belfast Metropolitan College building in Titanic Quarter

    The college said it will be contacting staff over the next few weeks to gauge interest in a voluntary exit scheme.

  81. Good morning

    Jayne McCormack

    BBC News NI

    Welcome back to BBC News NI Live on Wednesday 25 March. We'll be bringing you all of the latest news, sport, weather and travel right up until 19:00.