SDLP leader Colum Eastwood (second right) said he was “open to any discussion on how we can protect the Remain vote in Northern Ireland”. Photograph: Deborah McAleese/PA Wire

Northern Ireland parties discuss electoral pacts as mindsets shift to campaign mode

A voter stands at a booth inside a polling station as she prepares to cast her vote in Belfast during the last UK general election – on May 7th, 2015. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Another election? Why, how will it affect Assembly talks, who is likely to win, and . . . why

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds at Stormont Castle: all parties will insist they are ready and fired up for this latest challenge. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Still trying to get Stormont up and running, this surprise vote gives parties a lot to play for

Martin McGuinness’s headstone in Derry City Cemetery. Photograph: Liam McBurney/Razorpix

Unionist politicians claim republican’s grave shows he remained a paramilitary member

The PSNI is seeking witnesses to come forward.

PSNI treating assaults, which resulted in possible facial fractures, as ‘hate crime’

British veterans of the Troubles hold flags as they protest at the city hall in Belfast. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrations by supporters and dissident republicans in Belfast pass off peacefully

Irish language protesters outside the Education Authority on Academy Street in Belfast. “We are not asking for everybody to speak Irish. The language is there for all who want it.” Photograph:    Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Campbell’s lampooning of Irish and Foster’s refusal of a language Act galvanised nationalists

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire has extended the period for negotiations at Stormont. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Northern Secretary pauses Stormont talks until after Easter as parties remain deadlocked

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire: has set Friday as deadline for an agreement to prevent Northern Ireland slipping back to direct rule. Photograph: David Young/PA

Bad manners and mutual disrespect must disappear if accord in North to be struck

 Joe Lynskey, a former monk, who went missing from west Belfast in August 1972 and was executed and secretly buried by the IRA. Photograph: Wave Trauma Centre/PA Wire

Catholic primate Eamon Martin says ‘trustworthy’ people could be told of location

Margaret McGuckin: “There was no love there at all, no Christian attitudes, none whatsoever.” Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

“I don’t accept their apology and I never will,” says victim of Brendan Smyth

Keith Baker (61) who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for the abuse of a now 53-year-old woman with severe learning difficulties over an eight-year period

Appeal would test if terms for rape and physical abuse of vulnerable woman are too lenient

PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke: “In all my years as a police officer I struggle to think of more depraved and cruel behaviour.” Photograph: David Young/PA

Victim, now 53, was held prisoner in Co Armagh house for eight years

The PSNI is investigating the death of four men and a 16-year-old girl. Photograph: Paul Faith

Police report increase in drugs fatalities in Northern Ireland

A room in the home of Keith and Caroline Baker. Photograph: PA/PSNI

‘House of Horrors’ case hears woman was held in cold, locked room without carpet, light, bedclothes or curtains

The DUP leader Arlene Foster said the talks aimed at restoring the Northern Executive and Assembly were “more structured”. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Five main party leaders finally hold roundtable session of negotiations

Freddie Scappaticci pictured in west Belfast in 2003

Officer heading inquiry appeals for public witnesses to come forward

Chris Patten: his report said the RUC should not be disbanded but should be renamed. It proposed a new badge, and that the British union flag should no longer be flown over police buildings

Against fierce opposition, Patten commission brought about radical reforms

John MacVicar, editor of the Shankill Extra. “[Brexit] was a decision taken by the United Kingdom. You are either a democrat or you are not a democrat.” Photograph:  Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

‘Leave’ still dominant with immigration a key issue in a unionist heartland

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster: dilemma for her and her colleagues is how to make concessions to Sinn Féin without having their faces rubbed in the muck. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

Northern Ireland stalemate partly product of too short a time frame to find a solution

Northern Secretary James Brokenshire said he was extremely disappointed that there was no agreement to reinstate Stormont. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Civil Service will take care of Stormont business until deal made, says Northern secretary

Sinn Féin’s leader at Stormont, Michelle O’Neill, announces that the talks process aimed at restoring devolution in Northern Ireland has ‘run its course’, in Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

North’s parties are set to miss the deadline for restoring powersharing institutions

The Stormont Estate in Belfast. File photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The North’s parties are holding new talks aimed at restoring power sharing

A prison officer with a working dog at the recreation area in front of Erne House in Maghaberry Prison. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tensions in the Northern Irish jail are high despite paramilitaries being in the minority

Former US president Bill Clinton speaks during the funeral of Martin McGuinness at St Columba’s Church, Long Tower in Derry, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Former US president tells politicians ‘to celebrate his life . . . you have to finish his work’

Gerry Adams carries the coffin during the funeral procession of Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness, ahead of his funeral at St Columba’s Church Long Tower, in Derry. Photograph: Thomas McMullan/PA Wire

Sinn Féin president urges ‘respect for all’ in oration at former minister’s funeral

DUP leader and former first minister Arlene Foster signing a book of condolence for Martin McGuinness in Parliament Buildings, Stormont. Photograph:  Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands expected in Derry for farewell to former deputy first minister

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl:  has significant discretion to make decisions about flags. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Seán Ó Fearghaíl following protocol in honouring Martin McGuinness

DUP leader Arlene Foster signs a book of condolences for Martin McGuinness at Stormont in Belfast. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Former DUP first minister Arlene Foster says: ‘I doubt we will ever see his like again’

Martin McGuinness  in Derry in 1985

Ian Paisley’s widow sets right tone at time when further reconciliation is needed

The remains of Martin McGuinness are carried by friends, colleagues and relatives through the streets of the Bogside in Derry. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Tributes from across world paid to former IRA leader and subsequent peacemaker

A woman leaves flowers at the gates of the Sinn Féin office at Connolly House, in Andersonstown, Belfast following the death of Martin McGuinness. Photograph: PA

Reaction: Rev Latimer says life is about the man you become and McGuinness ‘finished well’

Roise Morgan holds an image of Martin McGuinness during a vigil in Belfast. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Thousands accompany the republican’s coffin as it is carried to his Derry home

Billy Hutchinson in December 2012:   “With nationalism, it’s a bit like St Augustine: wrap the green flag around me, but not just yet. It won’t happen in my lifetime.” Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

Key figures from both sides of the peace line have their say on the notion of Irish unity

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Northern Secretary James Brokenshire. They held a further round of talks in Stormont on Thursday

‘Cash-for-ash’ inquiry will take longer than six months to complete

Dr Eamon Martin: “A culture of blame will only trap us in an endless cycle of instability and insecurity,” he said in a joint statement with other church leaders.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Charlie Flanagan and James Brokenshire continue talks with Northern Ireland parties

DUP leader Arlene Foster at the count centre in Omagh, Co Tyrone, on Friday. The DUP’s seat tally dropped from 38 to 28 in the Assembly election, while Sinn Féin won 27. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Gerry Adams insists DUP leader step aside pending ‘cash for ash’ inquiry outcome

In the 90-member new Assembly there are 40 unionists (DUP, Ulster Unionists, Traditional Unionist Voice and independent unionist) and 39 nationalists (Sinn Féin and the SDLP). It is a long way from the 1921 election in the North, when Unionists also claimed 40 seats. That, however, was a 52-seat assembly.

Who really believed Sinn Féin would come within a whisker of equalling the DUP?

Sinn Féin party president Gerry Adams waves to the media as he walks with Sinn Féin’s Northern leader Michelle O’Neill on the Falls road in front of a mural of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in Belfast. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

‘Notion of a permanent or perpetual unionist majority has been demolished’, says Adams

Stormont is seen through low cloud in Belfast. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Northern Secretary James Brokenshire could introduce legislation to allow for period of negotiations

 Sinn Féin NI leader Michelle O’Neill,  Orlaithi Flynn, deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and president Gerry Adams  at  count centre in Belfast. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt announces he is to resign after poor results

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill after winning her seat in Mid-Ulster. This election will encourage Sinn Féin to make a greater push for a Border poll and lead to more talk of a united Ireland. Photograph: Paul McErlane/AFP

Analysis: Foster under pressure as DUP lead closes while high turnout fails to aid centrists

Michelle O’Neill, leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, celebrates winning her seat at the Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Analysis: High turnout suggests people invigorated over issues such as cash-for-ash

DUP leader Arlene Foster arriving at Brookeborough primary school in Co Fermanagh to cast her vote. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Election results will show whether the ‘cash for ash’ controversy has damaged DUP

A dog waits outside as a voter goes into a polling station in Belfast South. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

South Belfast was only constituency last May to elect four women to Stormont

DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives at Brookeborough primary school in Co Fermanagh. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

People uncertain if they are voting for resumption of Executive or British direct rule

DUP leader Arlene Foster  campaigning near Cookstown on  Wednesday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

Impact of RHI to be discovered while electorate unsure if they face return to direct rule

Polling station manager Teresa McCurdy carries a ballot box, ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, as she delivers it by ferry to the single polling station on the island of Rathlin off the North coast. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Smaller constituencies and ‘cash for ash’ scandal will affect Assembly poll outcome

Former DUP first minister Peter Robinson has broken his political silence to accuse the ‘more belligerent elements in Sinn Féin’ of precipitating an unnecessary Northern Assembly election. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Former DUP leader criticises Sinn Féin’s ‘belligerent elements’ over North vote

Colum Eastwood: The SDLP leader outside Belfast City Hall launching a poster campaign ahead of this week’s elections. Photograph: Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Party chief Colm Eastwood: ‘Attitude-changing election’ will sway disillusioned

Leaders of political parties in Northern Ireland: Colum Eastwood of the SDLP, Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin, Arlene Foster of the DUP, Mike Nesbitt of the UUP and Naomi Long of the Alliance Party. Photograph: Reuters

Discussion gives voters food for thought ahead of Wednesday's election

DUP leader Arlene Foster: “I am not going to apologise for the fact there’s a huge threat to Northern Ireland.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Northern party leaders make late pitches for support ahead of election on Thursday

Sinn Féin’s leader in North Michelle O’Neill: “My job and the job of political leadership is to try to heal all those wounds of the past, to try and build the bridges, to try to bring us into the modern era.” Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

SF leader claims ‘no one in their right mind’ would support Arlene Foster as things stand

 SDLP leader Colum Eastwood at  the publication of his party’s manifesto on Wednesday: “At the very moment when we most needed stability and certainty, our own government has collapsed”, he said. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Party leader Colum Eastwood outlines ‘partnership and progress’ manifesto

 Alliance Party leader Naomi Long: the Northern Assembly election on March 2nd offers an opportunity “to end the Green and Orange politics for good”. Photograph: Alliance Party/PA Wire

Naomi Long calls for audit on cost of division in North across education and public services

Jim Allister, the leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice. He has been effective in forensically exposing the flaws at the heart of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme

Allister and Swann hoping unionist anger at RHI will badly damage DUP

DUP leader Arlene Foster at the launch of the party’s manifesto in a Belfast hotel on Monday. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP leader sets out at launch of manifesto 10 principles to govern post-election talks

Oliver McMulllan of Sinn Féin:  different brands of unionists  want to uproot him. Photograph: Facebook

Proven survivor will need SDLP transfers to win in predominantly unionist constituency

Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill takes part in a vigil on Friday for four IRA members killed by the SAS in February 1992. Photograph: Getty

Jim Allister predicts Republic may follow United Kingdom out of the European Union

Party leaders Mike Nesbitt,  Michelle O’Neill,  Arlene Foster,  Naomi Long and  Colum Eastwood at the UTV studios  in Belfast for Thursday’s debate.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘Cash for ash’ and influence of Gerry Adams figure strongly in five-way UTV programme

Gerry Kelly MLA: topped the poll for Sinn Féin in North Belfast  last year. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Close contest likely as six outgoing MLAs fight for reduced number of five seats

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt: “What I am trying to achieve is a stretch for some people; it’s not going to be easy.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Ulster Unionist leader will cast second preference vote for SDLP’s Seamus de Faoite

Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill launches the Sinn Féin campaign for the 2017 Assembly election, in Armagh. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Michelle O’Neill addresses launch of Sinn Féin’s Northern Assembly election manifesto

Last May, when this was a six-seater constituency rather than the five-seater it is now, the DUP won three seats, Alliance two and the Ulster Unionist Party one

Alliance has established a strong foothold and is in good position to hold its two seats

Armagh chefs Sean Farnan and  Gareth Reid. Photograph: Jonathan King

Ten Northern Ireland chefs come together to transform city

Alex Attwood of the SDLP faces a major test in Belfast West. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Constituency profile: Sinn Féin poised for four seats with PBP set to retain seat

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long has battled to keep Alliance relevant in Northern Irish politics. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Interview: The Alliance leader discusses Foster’s ‘imperiousness’ and Stormont’s collapse

Bullet-riddled minibus in South Armagh where 10 protestant workmen were shot dead. Photograph:: PA Wire

Insufficient evidence to take a case against suspect arrested over murder of 10 Protestants

Suspended DUP member Jonathan Bell: “Political life has been corrupted by spin.” Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Outgoing Sinn Féin MLA backs protest over failure to implement Irish language strategy

Jonathan Bell (left) is to run as an Independent in the Assembly elections, he has announced.

Suspended DUP member alleged special advisers delayed closing down of RHI scheme

 DUP leader Arlene Foster speaking at the launch of the party’s  election campaign   in Lurgan on Monday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

‘See you later alligator,’ Gerry Adams retorts, after Arlene Foster’s ‘crocodile’ jibe

Arlene Foster at the launch of the DUP Campaign for the 2017 Assembly Election in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

DUP leader says Michelle O’Neill was ‘handpicked’ to do bidding of SF president

Arlene Foster and her DUP party must be more fretful than Sinn Féin’s new Northern Ireland leader, Michelle O’Neill, as the election campaign kicks into a higher gear. Photograph: Reuters/PA

‘Cash for ash’ controversy badly hit DUP leader’s political value ahead of election

Jamie Bryson told The Irish Times: “There was no conspiracy. I was not coached by Sinn Féin.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

File sent to North’s Public Prosecution Service but one accused claims it is ‘nonsense’

British army soldiers on patrol in Derry in 1971. File photograph: Darde/AFP/Getty Images

Pat Finucane Centre has documents outlining four alleged torture cases in 1972

Michelle O’Neill: The new Sinn Féin leader at Stormont called it “regrettable” that the DUP is standing against those in Northern Ireland who voted to remain. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sinn Féin says DUP and ‘Tory allies cannot be allowed to drag the North out of the EU’

Northern Secretary James Brokenshire has been accused of snubbing the Irish national anthem after he was absent for the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann at the McKenna Cup final. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

James Brokenshire attended GAA game but did not take seat until after Amhrán na bhFiann

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill with Gerry Adams during a news conference announcing her as the replacement for Martin McGuinness in the upcoming elections, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Sinn Féin’s new leader in Northern Ireland is keen to prove she is her own woman

DUP leader Arlene Foster: rejecting charges from political opponents and the media that she lacked humility, she said: “I believe the people of Northern Ireland know exactly who I am.”   Photograph:  Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

New Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland calls for ‘step-change in attitude’ from DUP

Former Alliance leader David Ford: before the dissolution of Stormont he was planning to introduce a private Bill that would allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. Photograph: Arthur Allison

Abortion figures for North for last two years have been lower than previous years

Forensic officers attend the scene on the Crumlin Road in Belfast where a PSNI officer was shot on Sunday night. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Dissident group says attack in Belfast not due to crisis but is a ‘continuation of activity’

Retired judge Sir Patrick Coghlin will chair  inquiry into the RHI scheme. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Sir Patrick Coghlin will not publish interim findings before elections in North

Pro-Remain supporters wave EU flags outside the supreme court in London, after  court’s ruling on Brexit vote yesterday. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Gerry Adams urges Government to negotiate special designation for North within EU

Jonathan Bell claimed a senior civil servant in the Department for the Economy told him that had DUP special advisers not interfered in the RHI scheme, its cost could have been halved. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Former minister Jonathan Bell used parliamentary privilege to make allegations

Martin McGuinness and his successor Michelle O’Neill  at Stormont on Monday. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Northern Ireland gets its third female party leader as the Tyrone politician is inaugurated

Video grab taken from the Northern Ireland Assembly of Michelle O’Neill speaking during an plenary session at Stormont earlier this month.

Decision to overlook Conor Murphy suggests handover to ‘new generation of republicans’

The scene at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast on Sunday night after  a police officer was shot in the arm. Photograph: PA Wire

Community officer injured in arm at filling station in attack being blamed on dissidents

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill. Photograph: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Some names of those who benefited from RHI scheme to be revealed this week

Margaret McGuckin is hugged by her brother Kevin, who was also abused, after the publication of the Historical Institutional Abuse report. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry reveals ‘unspeakable’ damage done to children

Cardinal Seán Brady arriving to give evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry in  June  2015.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Inquiry critical of 1975 canon law investigation into the Brendan Smyth case

Alleged victims of historical institutional abuse including Edward McCann (centre cap) arrive at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Belfast for   publication of the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry report. Photograph: AFP

Evidence of sexual, physical and emotional abuse across 22 Catholic and Protestant and state run homes investigated

 Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness back in 1983. Photograph:  PA Wire

Despite crisis, former deputy first minister is optimistic, saying dialogue only way forward

Sir Anthony Hart, chairman of HIA Inquiry. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

The 2,300-page 12-volume report must deliver justice for victims, Amnesty says

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, with his wife Bernie,  addresses supporters who gathered outside his home in Derry on Thursday night.  Photograph: Trevor McBride

Republicans will miss him, but unionists with political sense may do so too

Members of Sinn Fein  in the Great Hall at Stormont, Belfast. Outgoing Minister for Finance Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has announced a public inquiry into the North’s Renewable Heat Incentive controversy.  File photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP adviser resigns after being accused of exerting pressure over RHI scheme

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness leaves Bishops Gate hotel after announcing his intention not to see re-election in Derry, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Ex-deputy first minister of Northern Ireland says health and political crisis behind decision

Dr Andrew McCormick gives evidence to the public accounts committee in the Assembly, Stormont, on Wednesday. Photograph: PA Wire

Dr Andrew McCormick says likely ‘insider information’ passed on over RHI scheme

John Robinson has confirmed his now father-in-law availed of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, having earlier denied a family link to the scheme. Photograph: Getty

Former party press officer says he was unaware of father-in-law’s application to scheme

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said ‘nowhere will be more damaged’ by Brexit than Northern Ireland. Photograph: Eric Luke

Some Ministers say the promised hard Brexit will lead to significant difficulties for Ireland

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