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Live Reporting

By Grania McFadden and Ciaran Daly

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight:

    Ciaran McCauley

    BBC News NI

    That's it from us at BBC News NI Live - you can keep up with the latest on our news website and follow the ongoing Welfare Reform Bill debate on Stormont Live.

    We'll be back to do it all again tomorrow from 07:00 - we'll see you then.

  2. Time is money at Stormont?

    The welfare reform debate is still going (and going) into the evening - earlier Mike Nesbitt said Northern Ireland was being penalised £9.5m a month for not signing up to reform.

    Mike Nesbitt

    According to some "very crude maths" by our friends in political unit, that means during Alex Attwood's one hour, 14 minutes speech we paid about £16,500 in so-called Westminster fines.

  3. Sand dredging decision due:

    Conor Macauley

    BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

    The environment department will confirm how it intends to deal with the controversial issue of sand dredging in Lough Neagh in "the next few days".

    Sand dredging

    Warning letters telling dredgers to stop were issued in September 2014, but allegations have been made that the work has continued.

  4. Referendum fallout and dog bans:

    BBC Newsline's Tara Mills tweets about what's coming up in tonight's programme.

  5. M1 crash cleared:

    BBC NI Travel

    A crash on the M1 Blacks Road offslip has been cleared but there are still delays leaving Belfast from York Street on the Westlink.

  6. Double murderer jailed for life:

    A man has been sentenced to life in prison after admitting to a double murder in Belfast.

    Ravenhill murders
  7. Could Aer Lingus takeover affect Belfast?

    Julian O'Neill

    BBC News NI Business Correspondent

    Reports are suggesting the Irish government could approve the takeover of Aer Lingus tonight - if so, there are 63 flights-per-week between Belfast City and Heathrow which could potentially be affected.

    Aer Lingus

    In January, IAG said it had "no current plans" to change the route network if it buys Aer Lingus. But the fear would be that IAG could free-up a number of Heathrow slots by reducing the frequency of Belfast flights.

  8. First minister still in hospital:

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    The Belfast Health Trust confirms that First Minister Peter Robinson remains at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

  9. Police on banned England fans:

    Evening Extra

    On tonight's programme after 17:30, we'll be speaking to Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts from the National Police Chiefs' Council.

    Lansdowne Road

    He'll be telling us about the extra measures being put in place to ensure banned English football fans cannot attend next week's game against the Republic of Ireland.

  10. Broken down lorry on Westlink:

    BBC NI Travel

    In Belfast, a lorry has broken down on the Westlink under Grosvenor Road bridge, blocking the middle lane and causing delays from Broadway.

  11. Aer Lingus decision 'within hours':

    Taoiseach [Irish prime minister] Enda Kenny says a decision on a proposed takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG will be made within hours.

    Aer Lingus

    The takeover needs the approval of the Irish government, which holds a 25% stake in the airline.

  12. Debate rages on:

    SDLP's Alex Attwood has proven his speaking stamina in today's welfare reform debate after talking for over an hour on the subject, the longest contribution of any MLA - so far.

    Alex Attwood

    Ross Hussey is currently speaking during the mammoth debate which is still going on - check out our live coverage over on Stormont Live to get the latest.

  13. M1 offslip crash:

    BBC NI Travel

    There's been a crash leaving Belfast on the M1 Blacks Road offslip, it's blocking lane one.

  14. Archive: Dog cemetery

    BBC NI Archive

    Having heard that a local council are considering implementing dog-free zones, we went rushing off to our archive for some suitably shaggy footage.

    Dog cemetary

    Even better, we've found this from notable reporter James Boyce, who visited a dog cemetery in Bangor.

  15. McIlroy to tee off with Fowler and Kaymer:

    BBC Sport NI

    How's this for an exciting draw - Rory McIlroy will play with US star Rickie Fowler and major winner Martin Kaymer in the opening rounds of the Irish Open.

    Martin Kaymer and Rickie Fowler

    They'll tee off at 08:00 on Thursday. Graeme McDowell will play with Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez at 07:50 with Darren Clarke teeing off ten minutes earlier.

  16. Best weather in south east:

    South and east seeing the best of today's sun and temperatures. It's cool in the north west breeze and single digits temperature wise - but at least it's dry.

    Weather collage
  17. Welfare bill 'should be binned':

    The welfare reform debate is continuing, with the SDLP's Alex Attwood currently on his feet.

    Alex Attwood

    "Pull the bill," he says. "Tell London to put their welfare penalties where they should be - in the bin," he says. Our live coverage continues over on Stormont Live.

  18. Clarke sticking with Ryder Cup system:

    BBC Sport NI

    Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke says he will not change the qualifying system for next year's team at Hazeltine.

    Getty Images

    He says he gave "a lot of thought" to changing the number of wild card picks but has decided to stay with three, who will join nine qualifiers.

  19. Swing of things:

    Many of the world's golfing elite took to Royal County Down earlier for a practice round ahead of the tournament's tee-off on Thursday.

    Irish Open

    Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Ernie Els were among those captured taking on the course, and meeting fans, in BBC Sport NI's photo gallery.

  20. O2 network working again:

    O2 says its phone network is back to normal after customers in several areas, including parts of Northern Ireland, complained of reception problems.


    The company has apologised and says network equipment was to blame for the problem.

  21. Westlink delays:

    Trafficwatch NI

    In Belfast, a van is blocking the left lane on the Westlink just before the M3 and causing delays from Grosvenor Road towards the M3 and M2.

  22. Belfast environmental park announced:

    Enterprise minister Jonathan Bell announces that a £9.5m environmental resource park will be built as part of Giant's Park in Belfast.

    Giant's Park

    The minister says the proposed plans will make Northern Ireland "a world leader in green technology" and bring together companies working in renewable energy, recycling and other environmental technology.

  23. Shopping centre sold:

    BBC News NI's reporter Julian Fowler tweets that Erneside Shopping Centre has found a buyer.

    Julian Fowler
  24. Fido no go?

    Andy West

    BBC News NI

    There are plans to ban dogs from some of the areas below in Carrick. I'm out at the consultation at the Civic Centre; it's on until 16:00.

    Dog exclusion zones
  25. Antrim roadworks:

    Trafficwatch NI

    In Antrim town, the Steeple Road is closed due to road-works at Stiles Way until 14 June.

    There'll be no access to Antrim from the M1 at junction seven. Motorists are advised to use junction six on the M2 or junction one on the M22 instead.

  26. Pienaar named in Barbarians team:

    BBC Sport

    Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar has been named in the Barbarians team to take on Ireland at Thomond Park on Thursday.

    Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar

    Welsh duo Alex Cuthbert and Adam Jones join the South African in a line-up captained by Ireland's Shane Jennings.

  27. Clarke looks forward to 'special' Irish Open

    Darren Clarke says "it's very special to be back playing the Irish Open In Northern Ireland" and paid tribute to Rory McIlroy for helping to attract star names to the tournament.

    Darren Clarke Irish Open

    Clarke said: "He's taken his position as world number one and embraced it - and to do what he's doing off the golf course says a lot about him. Rory's persuaded a lot of the guys to come and play."

  28. More police action ahead of Ireland v England game

    Dan Roan

    BBC sports editor

    BBC Sports Editor Dan Road tweets that police in England have announced an increase in enforcement activity ahead of the Ireland v England game in Dublin on 7 June after "deterioration in fan behaviour".

    Policing for Ireland v England
  29. Historic Opens at Royal County Down:

    BBC NI Archive

    You may have heard that the Irish Open is being played at Royal County in Newcastle this week. But here's some archive footage of a different tournament at the same venue many moons ago.


    The British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship was held at the same venue in 1927 and was won by Mademoiselle Simone de la Chaume of France, the first ever non-British winner.

  30. Flat to the mat

    Conor Macauley

    BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

    BBC News NI agriculture and environment correspondent Conor Macauley tweets that Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan has proposed raising the tractor speed limit from 20 to 25mph.

    Tractor speed limit
  31. Largest solar installation in Ireland

    Bombardier has unveiled Ireland's largest rooftop solar installation at its Belfast base at Queen's Island.

    Bombardier Solar panels

    It's made up of 14,000 PV panels which will generate 3,000 MWh a year - the equivalent amount of electricity needed for 1,000 homes.

  32. No further action over playground naming row:

    News Letter

    The News Letter reports that the Equality Commission has decided not to exert any further pressure to change the name of a Newry playground named after an IRA gunman.

    Raymond McCreesh Park

    The commission says that it will not be taking any further action, after seven years of correspondence with Newry and Mourne District Council over a park named after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

  33. Dodds calls for intervention over welfare:

    Nigel Dodds says Northern Ireland has "run out of road" over welfare reform and that the British government must act if Stormont fails to put the bill through.

    Nigel Dodds

    The DUP MP says: "If it cannot be implemented, and if people will not face up to economic and political reality in Sinn Féin and elements in the SDLP, then it is over to the British our view they have to step in and take welfare reform powers."

  34. Monday alert forced elderly from homes:

    An elderly woman with cancer was too sick to leave her home as the Army dealt with a pipe bomb in east Belfast on Monday night.

    Strand Walk

    Other pensioners had to leave their home in the attack at Strand Walk.

  35. Arrest in violent dissident terrorist investigation:


    A 20-year-old man has been arrested in Londonderry in connection with an investigation into violent dissident terrorism.

    He has been taken to the serious crime suite at Antrim police station for interview.

  36. Open and closed?

    Mark Simpson

    BBC News NI

    BBC News NI's Mark Devenport tweets: Headline of the week - Irish Open, Stormont closed?

    Rory Stormont
  37. Kelly and Ford tangle over GFA:

    Laughter breaks the solemn atmosphere at the Assembly after David Ford and Dolores Kelly exchange words over his claims other parties are not committed to the Good Friday Agreement.

    Dolores Kelly David Ford

    SDLP's Dolores Kelly says: "I don't recall under the D'Hondt principles of the Good Friday Agreement that the Alliance Party should have two ministers at this stage?"

    "I'm devastated," he replies. "I must say if somebody can't tell the difference between a mathematical formula and a principle then we have a real issue to learn about."

  38. Fairway focus for McIlroy:

    BBC Sport NI

    Rory McIlroy says off-course commitments won't distract him at this week's Irish Open.

    Rory McIlroy's charitable foundation is the tournament host at Royal County Down

    The world number one's charitable foundation is the official tournament host but he says his obligations shouldn't get in the way of "playing good golf".

  39. Ryanair reports big rise in profits

    Irish airline Ryanair has reported a big increase in full-year profits. Net profit for the year to the end of March rose 66% to €867m (£614m), slightly ahead of analysts' expectations.

    Ryanair plane

    Falling oil prices helped to reduce operating costs.

  40. Council considers 'dog free zones':

    Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is considering setting up a dog exclusion zones.


    The move would see owners fined if they were caught with their pets in one of 96 proposed areas.

  41. Dry day but unsettled tomorrow:

    Barra Best

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    BBC News NI weather presenter Barra Best tweets that it'll be another largely dry day with the best of the sunshine towards the south. There'll be more unsettled weather tomorrow.

    Tuesday 26 May 2015
  42. Today on Talkback:

    BBC Talkback

    On Talkback today, we're talking dogs - should they be banned from public places because of the irresponsible actions of some owners?

    Enda McClafferty

    Join Enda McClafferty on air from 12:00 and call us on 08459555678 to have your say.

  43. Newtownards Road closed by alert:

    The bottom of Newtownards Road at Bridge End has been closed as part of the security alert in Strand Walk.

    Metro bus services are also affected, with the 3A and number 20 buses being diverted away from the area.

  44. 'No money tree':

    UUP's Roy Beggs has been speaking in the Welfare Reform Bill debate.

    Roy Beggs

    "If this bill is not approved, we will be the only part of the UK using the old benefit system," he says. Follow live coverage of the debate on Stormont Live.

  45. 'No decision' over acting first minister:

    Nigel Dodds says there's been no decision yet as to whether there'll be an acting first minister while Peter Robinson continues to recover from a suspected heart attack.

    Nigel Dodds

    He says the first minister is stable and improving. "Peter's very determined that today's proceedings should continue," he adds.

  46. 'Most partisan British government in two decades':

    Dolores Kelly adds that the current British government is "the most partisan in the last 20 years" in its approach to Northern Ireland.

    Dolores Kelly

    "The very threat to breaching the Good Friday Agreement by their proposals around the Human Rights Act and the European Convention - this is something we will not stand for," she says.

  47. 'Welfare fines like gun to our head':

    Dolores Kelly says the possible fines from the British government over welfare reform is like "a gun put at our head".

    Dolores Kelly

    "The British government should remove the threat of fines," she says. "That's the first thing they should do."

  48. Kelly says SF 'following' SDLP:

    SDLP deputy leader Dolores Kelly is on her feet now - she says it should be remembered that the SDLP tabled 30 amendments to the current bill which were rejected by the DUP and Sinn Féin.

    Dolores Kelly

    "So rather than us going to Sinn Féin's position, we welcome Sinn Féin following us on welfare reform," she adds.

  49. 'Scottish, Welsh and NI should unite over cuts':

    The deputy first minister continues saying that the Stormont Assembly should join with the Scottish and Welsh governments "in opposition to Tory austerity".

    Martin McGuinness

    "The Scottish executive has already requested a tripartite meeting between the representatives of the Scottish, Welsh and local assemblies. We should be taking this offer up and developing a common position," he says.

  50. Conservatives have 'no mandate':

    Martin McGuinness says Sinn Féin's anti-austerity approach was mandated by almost 25% of the popular vote in the general election, while the Conservatives received just over 1% of the vote.

    Martin McGuinness

    "This is a party that doesn't have a single assembly seat or local council seat. They have no democratic mandate for their austerity policies here in the north of Ireland," he says.

  51. McGuinness slams 'Tory cuts'

    Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says that the issue is "not just about welfare, this is bigger than the issue of welfare".

    Martin McGuinness

    Mr McGuinness said: "Our concern is wider than that. It's around the grave implications of further cuts threatened by the Tories."

  52. Agnew signs petition of concern

    Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA today signed the petition of concern against the Welfare Reform Bill at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

    Steven Agnew

    Mr Agnew said: "There have been no significant changes to what has been proposed and this has left me with no option but to sign a petition of concern."

  53. 'Fair, legal and affordable' welfare reform

    Mervyn Storey says that he believes he has delivered what was asked of him on welfare reform.

    Mervyn Storey

    Mr Storey said: "I believe our approach has been fair, legal affordable and deliverable. Let's remember those were the criteria set out by the First Minister."

  54. Universal credit at the heart of welfare reform

    Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey says that a move towards universal credit "sits at the heart of this welfare reform bill".

    Welfare Reform Bill debate

    Mr Storey also says that the welfare reform bill has provisions that would protect people from the so-called bedroom tax.

  55. Storey sets out case for welfare reform bill

    Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey says that welfare reform "sets a new course, a very different course for our system".

    Mervyn Storey welfare debate

    Mr Storey said: "I firmly believe that the time for talking is now over. I believe that now is the time for decisions, for getting on with the implementation of reforms."

  56. McIlroy ready for Irish Open workload

    BBC Sport NI

    Rory McIlroy is confident that his off-course commitments at this week's Irish Open will not hinder his challenge at Royal County Down.

    Rory McIlroy

    McIlroy's charitable foundation is the official tournament host and he is certain to have a busy week.

  57. Erneside Shopping Centre sold for £34.25m

    International property manager Cordea Savills has sold Erneside Shopping Centre in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh on behalf of a corporate pension fund client for £34.25m.

  58. Clingan's Kilmarnock stay ends:

    BBC Sport

    Sammy Clingan's two-and-a-half year spell at Kilmarnock has ended after he was named among five experienced first-team players being released.

    Kilmarnock midfielder Sammy Clingan

    The Northern Ireland player is joined by fellow midfielder Paul Cairney, defender Chris Chantler, plus strikers Lee Miller and Nathan Eccleston.

  59. More buses for Irish Open events

    Public transport arrangements for this week's Irish Open golf event in Newcastle, County Down have been published.

    Royal County Down

    There will be enhanced bus services between Belfast's Europa Buscentre and Newcastle every half hour, at peak times, from May 26 to 31.

  60. Aer Lingus sale to be discussed by Irish cabinet

    BBC News NI business reporter Clodagh Rice tweets that Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny has confirmed that the proposed sale of Aer Lingus is to be discussed at Cabinet this morning.

    Aer Lingus sale
  61. Man faces prostitution charges

    Police have charged a 60-year-old man with controlling prostitution, controlling a brothel for prostitution and causing or inciting prostitution. He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court today.

    Laganside Courts Complex
  62. O2 service back to normal

    Phone provider O2 has said its service is "back to normal" after customers complained of problems with reception in several parts of the UK.

    O2 store

    The company has apologised after people in areas across the UK, including parts of Northern Ireland said they had lost signal.

  63. Pipe bomb failed to explode:


    Police have confirmed that a pipe bomb failed to explode at Strand Walk in Belfast last night. The device was thrown into the back garden of a house at around 22:40 last night.

    A number of homes in the area were evacuated last night while bomb disposal officers and police attended the scene. Residents were allowed back into their homes at 03:00 after the pipe bomb had been made safe.

  64. Pipe bomb evacuation reports

    Sinn Féin Councillor Niall Ó'Donnghaile tweets that he spoke to some residents in Strand Walk in Belfast by telephone this morning. There are reports that they were evacuated due to a viable pipe bomb last night.

    Pipe Bomb Strand Walk
  65. Ministers clash over welfare reform

    Finance Minister Arlene Foster has warned of £9.5m Westminster fines per month if the welfare reform bill fails to pass at Stormont today, saying "the choice is very clear today".

    Arlene and O'Dowd

    In response, Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd said: "If there's one thing we've learned over the last 15 to 20 years it's that negotiation can overcome what was thought as very difficult problems."

  66. 'Employee relations at all-time low'

    Alison Millar of the public service union NIPSA has highlighted zero-hour contracts, the use of agency workers and temporary contracts as major causes for concern ahead of the union's annual conference.

    Alison Millar

    Ms Millar said: "A top line is that employee relations are at an all-time low at this particular time."

  67. Nationalist parties 'unrealistic' about welfare reform

    Alliance Party leader David Ford says that nationalist parties in Northern Ireland are being unrealistic about welfare reform.

    David Ford

    Mr Ford said :"We are walking into a financial crisis with people's eyes wide open knowing exactly what they're walking into."

  68. 'NI military veterans abandoned'

    Vincent Kearney

    BBC News NI Home Affairs Correspondent

    A highly decorated soldier has accused the government of abandoning Northern Ireland military veterans who need help for serious physical and mental injuries.

    Captain Doug Beattie

    Captain Doug Beattie was awarded the Military Cross for bravery while serving with the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) in Afghanistan.

  69. First Minister has 'stabilised'

    Finance Minister Arlene Foster tells BBC Good Morning Ulster that she does not yet know whether she or anyone else in the DUP will be required to act as First Minister while Peter Robinson recovers from a suspected heart attack.

    Arlene Foster

    Ms Foster said: "As I understand it he (Peter Robinson) has stabilised but still remains in hospital."

  70. Welfare reform

    BBC Good Morning Ulster tweets that Finance Minister Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd will be on the programme after 08:00 ahead of today's Welfare Reform Bill debate.

    Good Morning Ulster
  71. Crimewatch appeal over Jock Davison murder

    Detectives investigating the murder of former senior IRA man Gerard 'Jock' Davison in Belfast are taking part in the BBC Crimewatch programme in a renewed appeal for information.

    Gerard 'Jock' Davison

    The 47-year-old was shot a number of times at Welsh Street in the Markets area at 09:09 BST on Tuesday 5 May. The gunman made off on foot.

  72. Health faces 'financial challenge':

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    The scale of financial difficulty facing Northern Ireland's five health trusts was so severe in 2013 and 2014 that four of them failed to break even.


    In a report, Auditor General Kieran Donnelly confirmed that the health and social care service was facing an unprecedented financial challenge.

  73. Grey start but getting brighter:

    Geoff Maskell

    BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's another grey and cloudy start to the day but as we go through today there will be a little more in the way of brighter spells. You can watch the latest weather forecast here.

    Morning weather 26 May 2015
  74. Belfast firm wins Harrods deal:

    Clodagh Rice

    Business Reporter, BBC News NI

    CRN Financial Group from Belfast has won a big deal with Harrods. The firm which was set up 40 years ago employs about 27 people in south Belfast.

    They look after companies, their directors and employees throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in areas like retirement benefit schemes and investment.

  75. NI welfare reform debate to proceed

    Northern Ireland assembly members are due to debate the final stage of the controversial welfare reform bill later.


    DUP sources indicated the debate will go ahead despite Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson's admission to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

  76. Social media campaign for murdered teen

    Good Morning Ulster

    Coming up on BBC Good Morning Ulster the family of a murdered teenager from Ballykelly, County Londonderry have turned to social media in a bid to get answers 16 years after his death.

    Jonathan Cairns' parents

    Jonathan Cairns' body was found in a forest outside the village in 1999. A man was jailed for five years for helping to dispose of the body, but no-one has ever been convicted of his murder.

  77. Good morning!

    Ciaran Daly

    BBC News NI

    Good morning and welcome back to BBC News NI Live on Tuesday 26 May. We'll be bringing you all of the latest news, sport, travel and weather up until 19:00 this evening.