First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster: in charge of  Department when rules for scheme approved. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

UUP leader urges First Minister to “consider position” as failings arose under her watch

Loyalist protesters converge on Belfast City Hall, January 2013, over the removal of the Union flag from the venue. Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr has  been involved in managing such difficult frontline policing in Northern Ireland  as the loyalist flags protests and parading. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr dealt with issues such as flags protests and parading

Northern Ireland Minister for Justice Claire Sugden said  there had been successes  against gangs which comprise groups such the Ulster Volunteer Force (East Belfast mural above), the Ulster Defence Association, republican dissident groups and some eastern European gangs. File photograph: Getty Images

Executive determined to ‘rid Northern Ireland of the scourge of paramilitarism’

Aerial view of Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim. File photograph: Google Street View

Strip-search complaint: Politicians urge Claire Sugden to implement 2010 agreements

David Trimble during his time as first minister: “The DUP and Sinn Féin are operating within structures that we and the SDLP created.” Photograph: Paul McErlane/Reuters

Interview: Former Northern Ireland first minister on Brexit, Boris and his old nemesis

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister was the only MLA   to declare his opposition to the motion. Photo: Arthus Allison/Pacemaker

Law already passed in Westminster now given legislative consent in Northern Ireland

Third  of women in Equality Commission study say they were disadvantaged due to pregnancy or   maternity leave. Photograph: Katie Collins/PA Wire

‘Expecting Equality’ report reveals work experiences of pregnant women and mothers

DUP MLA Jim Wells  and  other anti-abortion campaigners present a petition to Stormont against changing the North’s abortion legislation. Photograph: DUP/PA Wire

DUP MLA presents ‘largest ever petition’ to Assembly against legislative change

First Minister Arlene Foster: her spokesman said “were the pope to visit Northern Ireland in his capacity as head of state, then the First Minister would meet him”

Expectation is pope would cross Border, with Presbyterian church saying he would be ‘most welcome’ in Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Irish unity the only way to uphold Northern Ireland’s wish to remain in EU - Gerry Adams

The PSNI’s  Belfast district commander, Chief Supt Chris Noble,   condemned what he called a “cowardly attempt to intimidate a law-abiding community”. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Loyalist paramilitaries suspected of placing warning messages on cars in east Belfast

John Hemsworth (39)  assaulted in  July 7th, 1997 in west Belfast. He died on New Year’s Day 1998.

North’s Police Ombudsman concludes police officers assaulted west Belfast man in 1997

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister  Martin McGuinness  outside Clifton House in Belfast. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister calls for unionism ‘to reciprocate republican efforts’

Lorraine McCausland: Her death was described as “a merciless beating of a vulnerable young woman”.

‘Loyalist paramilitarism’ casts long shadow over rape and murder of vulnerable woman

Undated handout photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) of Daniel Rooney. Photograph: PA

Teenager was shot dead by undercover unit in the British army in Belfast in 1972

An image from a Northern Irish road safety campaign. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds

The evidence shows the hard-hitting TV ads have succeeded in reducing fatalities

Taoisach Enda Kenny NI First Minister Arlene Foster and NI Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the North-South Ministerial Council meeting in Armagh on Friday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Political leaders in Dublin and Belfast meet for ‘Brexit impact assessment’ in Armagh

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster at Government Buildings in Dublin this week. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Some wonder if fact IRA almost killed her and her father engendered hostility to South

 Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers bakery, which was found to have breached the  North’s equality laws by refusing to make a pro-gay marriage cake. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Northern Ireland’s Attorney-General intervenes in legal row involving Christian bakers

The Pat Finucane Centre says “the family of Kevin Heatley was offered a derisory £750 because this was ‘the acceptable rate for a minor’, according to the MoD”

Mobile advertising campaign in London highlights cases of disputed killings by British soldiers

12-year-old Kevin Heatley who was shot by the British army in 1973

‘Ad van’ will travel the city’s streets highlighting cases of a father and a boy shot by British army

Madge Herron on the streets of Kentish Town. “Isn’t she wonderful,” a psychiatrist once said of the poet. “It would be a shame to cure her.”

The legacy of the Donegal-born poet and performer has been reclaimed in a new book

Ulster Unionist MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone, Tom Elliott at the Border. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

UUP MP and former UDR soldier Tom Elliott recalls days of hard Border in the North

Merlin: the area is home to threatened birds such the merlin, hen harrier, golden plover and red grouse and rare plants such as the marsh saxifrage and bog orchid. Photograph: iStock

Glens of Antrim scheme to re-wet bog also expected to help wildlife and environment

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the All-Ireland Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Sinn Féin says it will not change Westminster policy even if it could help prevent Brexit

Members of the Garda Representative Association hold a press conference on Thursday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Garda Representative Association executive to consider recommendation in pay dispute

The appeal is being taken by a 19-year-old woman and her mother against a  law that bars women from the North who travel to England for abortions being treated for free under the NHS

Supreme Court to hear challenge to ban on women accessing NHS-funded terminations

Ulster’s Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Rugby internationals deny any wrongdoing and are assisting PSNI, according to union

Ulster University’s Dr Declan McKenna, who led a study into  the treatment of prostate cancer. File photograph: Nigel McDowell/Ulster University/PA Wire

Ulster University researchers discover ‘hugely significant’ new treatment for disease

First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster delivers her keynote speech to delegates at the DUP annual conference at the La Mon Hotel in Dundonald, Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Leader’s stinging rebuke of Dublin provides only fireworks in otherwise bland address

File photograph of Diane Dodds, who told the DUP conference that the Brexit decision is final and cannot be undone.

MEP says Border will remain open after United Kingdom leave EU

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster said she will not accept passport controls between the North and the rest of the UK. Photograph: Getty

First Minister says no internal borders within UK is ’red line’ issue for the DUP

Arlene Foster: “Brexit represents the biggest economic opportunity for this country in decades.” Archive photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

First Minister adamant Brexit will enhance the economic prospects of Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland First Minister  and DUP leader Arlene Foster says she has “huge sympathy” for the way in which the owners of the Belfast bakers, Ashers, have “been dragged through the courts system” for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Northern Ireland First Minister feels Taoiseach was bouncing her into supporting his idea

A cross-party group of politicians had claimed the country should have a veto on an exit and said the Stormont Assembly should have a say on whether to trigger negotiations with Europe. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Judge says implications of EU departure still uncertain after politicians sought veto

President Michael D Higgins has spoken of the responsibilities of Irish people during the current decade of centenaries. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

President says Irish people must ‘remember generously’ during the decade of centenaries

New Alliance leader Naomi Long: says predecessor David Ford left  party “in good health and in good spirits”. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

First woman leader says party’s focus must be wider than tackling sectarian division

Four men were detained on Wednesday at houses in Ballymena in Co Antrim and Coleraine in Co Derry following suspicious activity at a Co Antrim forest.

Suspects questioned in relation to extreme right-wing attitudes on northeastern Europe

Sinn Féin Minister for Health Michelle O’Neill said her  plan is based on the 10-year “roadmap” proposed by an expert panel led by former Basque Country minister for health Prof Rafael Bengoa. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Health system will consume 90% of Executive budget if no action is taken, warns Minister

There was a steady stream of customers at Ashers bakery on Royal Avenue in central Belfast on Tuesday afternoon. Apart from a French family, the people buying breads, cakes, sandwiches, sausage rolls and buns were familiar with the latest chapter of the so-called ‘gay cake’ case.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Customers at Belfast bakery very opinionated on case, but many unwilling to give names

Gareth Lee sued Ashers Bakery after it refused to bake a cake depicting Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie below the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”.

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell describes ruling as ‘defeat for freedom of expression’

The proposed design for a re-developed Casement Park, as unveiled today by Ulster GAA. Photo: Ulster GAA

The new height, scale and capacity are all reduced from the previous stadium design

 President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union Barclay Bell: “If we went out with a very negative message at the moment, farmers would be in despair.” Photograph: Alan Betson

An effective tariff war with Brussels is a likely harvest for many farmers in Northern Ireland

 Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt during the party’s annual conference at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Analysis: Unionist conference is the birthplace of a new alternative to ‘Marlene’

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt told his party conference Saturday: “Vote me, you get [SDLP leader] Colum [Eastwood]. Vote Colum, you get me”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Unionist party leader Mike Nesbitt says alliance will work against DUP and Sinn Féin

Charlie Flanagan: “It is important that we all work together constructively to safeguard the interests of the people of this island,” the Minister told the Derry Chamber of Commerce. Photograph: Eric Luke

Politicians need to move out of their ‘comfort zone’ to deal with challenges, Minister says

Former Alliance leader David Ford in conversation with Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. Mr Ford is considering his role within his Presbyterian congregation after being dismissed as an elder. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Former Alliance chief dismissed from Presbyterian Second Donegore Church in Antrim

British astronaut Tim Peake says he believes alien life exists in the cosmos and that humans will set foot on Mars. Photograph: John Linton/PA Wire.

On visit to Northern Ireland, space veteran says he believes humans will walk on Mars

Sinn Féin protesters  at Queen’s University Belfast on Tuesday. Photograph: Tam Donlon

Party activists stage demonstration against army event at Queen’s University Belfast

In letters dated last Friday, October 14th, Theresa  May responded to the joint letter sent to her by Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness on August 10th last setting out their concerns over the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May responds to letter sent by Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness in August

Former Deputy First Minister  Seamus Mallon (R) with former SDLP  leader John Hume: Mr Mallon’s wife Gertrude has died after a long illness. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Wife of former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon described as ‘pillar of strength’ for SDLP

A stuffed British bulldog toy is held by a Pro-EU demonstrator outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Time to build an Irish solution to this European problem, says leader Colum Eastwood

Government said it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the findings of the HIA Inquiry before they are published in January. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Northern Executive urged to act quickly to compensate victims after HIA Inquiry

 Chief executive of the Northern Ireland Fish Producers’ Organisation Dick James: “Unless our politicians are extremely weak in their negotiating, then we have got a hell of a strong hand to play here.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Reduced quotas, red tape and restrictions have been disastrous, industry leader says

Naomi Long said, “If elected, I will not only be the first woman to lead the party,  I will also be the first leader younger than Alliance itself.”

East Belfast MLA due to be formally ratified on October 26th

 Orange Order grand secretary Drew Nelson. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Unionist leader described as a ‘pragmatic’ and ‘modernising force’ following his death

Victims’ rights campaigner Raymond McCord, who is challenging the constitutional authority of the British government to take Northern Ireland out of the European Union . File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Belfast judge considers arguments on how quitting EU would affect Northern Ireland

David Ford was the minister of justice from 2010 until earlier this year when Alliance decided not to take up an offer from the DUP and Sinn Féin to hold on to that post. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

South Antrim Assembly member will formally stand down on 15th anniversary of leadership

Campaigners from a group called Border Communities Against Brexit outside Belfast’s High Court where a legal challenge to Brexit is taking place. Photograph: Michael McHugh/PA Wire

Lawyer for British government defends right to fully implement referendum vote to quit EU

Victims’ rights campaigner Raymond McCord, who is challenging the constitutional authority of the British government to take Northern Ireland out of the European Union . File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Lawyer says Belfast Agreement gives North a ‘veto’ over any constitutional change to its status

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Martin McGuinness says Brexit is not a “done deal” for Northern Ireland

Following their meeting with British prime minister Theresa May at Stormont in July, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness  gave separate, edgy press conferences which highlighted their diametrically opposing positions on Brexit. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

The North has been plunged into uncertainty and the prospect of having to reconcile the irreconcilable

The Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has again insisted that as a majority of people in Northern Ireland - 56 per cent - voted to remain in the European Union that vote “must be recognised and respected in any negotiations” on Brexit.

Martin McGuinness says British government ‘has no plan’ and ‘no idea what Brexit means’

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams plans to take legal action against the BBC over a programme which alleged he sanctioned the killing in 2006 of Denis Donaldson (right), a former senior party official who turned out to be a British agent. Photographs: PA.

‘Spotlight’ programme alleged Sinn Féin leader sanctioned killing of Denis Donaldson

Marie Heaney and her children, Michael, Christopher and Catherine, at the official opening of the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co Derry. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

£4.25m Bellaghy facility a permanent exhibition about life and work of Nobel Laureate

File photograph of PSNI  officers investigating  a car. Co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI ‘has undoubtedly saved lives’, the North’s Minister of Justice, Claire Sugden, has said. File photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

North and South law enforcement agencies gather at conference on cross-Border crime

Archbishop Eamon Martin said: ‘I have always maintained that the Catholic Church must fully accept its responsibilities to those who have suffered abuse.’ Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Catholic Primate Eamon Martin said he was ‘taken aback’ by account of July meeting

A loyalist protester gestures to the police in north Belfast in July 14th, 2013, after an Orange Parade was blocked from marching past the nationalist Ardoyne area. File photograph: Cathal McNaughton

Parades Commission allows organisation to finish the return leg of Twelfth of July march

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness: said the issue was a “non-story”, since the report’s warnings were well-aired during the campaign. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Alliance Party and SDLP say Stormont civil servants’ report pointed to how quitting EU could damage Northern Ireland

The seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont, in Belfast. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

Investigation into Project Eagle must progress without risk of prejudice, body says

Paddy O’Flaherty: Described by colleages as a “fantastic” radio broadcaster. Photograph: Trevor Ferris

Politicians and colleagues pay tribute to popular journalist noted for ‘great voice’

Men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than 12 months ago will be free to donate blood if they meet the other donor selection criteria.

Minister Michelle O’Neill urges every donor to fully comply with blood donation rules

Daithí McKay: the former North Antrim MLA was forced to resign

Activists protest against treatment of former Assembly member Daithí McKay

Arlene Foster said if evidence comes forward that Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was implicated in the alleged collusion against Mr Robinson then his position would be “entirely untenable”. File photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

DUP also asks PSNI to examine claims Daithí McKay involved in conspiracy to damage Peter Robinson

Joseph Murphy, a victim of the 1971 British army shootings in Ballymurphy, west Belfast, and his wife Mary, who were buried together after dying on the same day, 45 years apart. Photograph: Family Handout/PA Wire

Mary Murphy buried with husband Joseph, one of 11 victims of Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971

PSNI officers remove items following searches  in Larne, Co Antrim, yesterday, after the arrest of a Royal Marine for questioning in connection with  two major dissident republican arms finds. Photgraph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Soldier questioned on suspicion of preparation for acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland

The Northern Assembly’s fiance committee called on Sinn Féin Minister of Finance Máirtín  Ó Muilleoir should stand aside pending the outcome of an investigation. File photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Stormond committee says Sinn Féin MLA should stand aside pending outcome of investigation

PSNI chief constable George Hamilton told a Twitter user: “You’re allowed to leave & seek another job – nobody is asking you to stay.”

George Hamilton accused of ‘stunning misjudgment’ in message about police

Concerns have been raised about governance and clinical services at Marie Stopes International.

Care Quality Commission raises concerns about service’s operations

Former Sinn Féin Northern Assembly committee chairman Daithí McKay, who has resigned as an MLA following allegations that he communicated with blogger Jamie Bryson before the  latter gave explosive evidence about  Nama dealings in Northern Ireland. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

If Daithí McKay row is found to be larger SF plot, trust between top NI parties could crack

Peter Robinson: rejected claim at the time as a “scripted performance”. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Féin insists it was not involved in wider conspiracy against Peter Robinson

The chair of the Northern Ireland finance committee, Sinn Féin’s Daithi McKay

Daithi McKay accused of coaching loyalist in how to make allegations over huge Nama deal

Two sisters have settled sexual harassment cases for £30,000 against KFC in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters.

Young women complained male co-worker touched and pinched them and exposed himself

The representative body for PSNI officers has called for an inquiry into the operation of the office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. File photograph: Getty Images

Lobby group complains of ‘sloppy and careless procedures’ in Police Ombudsman office

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has accused dissident republicans of being ‘at war’ with the nationalist community and challenged them to enter into dialogue in order to end their violence. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin leader speaking after hunger strike posters defaced and bonfires in Derry and Belfast

David Hockney in 1966. Photograph: Jane Bown/PA Wire

First major presentation of English artist’s work in Ireland concentrates on early work

IRA hunger striker: Laurence McKeown. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Weekend Read: One night 40 years ago Laurence McKeown ambushed an RUC Land Rover. He was jailed for 16 years. Now a playwright, he(...)

Local residents Jeanie Copeland and Deirdre Hughes in front of railings and landscaped greenery which has replaced a peace wall on Crumlin Road, Belfast.  Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Taking down wall on Crumlin Road ‘powerful, symbolic’, says Martin McGuinness

Arlene Foster: she denied the DUP decision to support the Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum was a mistake

Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness defend letter to May highlighting ‘challenges’ for North

 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness  and First Minister Arlene Foster: joint letter to British prime minister Theresa May to say they were reassured by her commitment to the North. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

North leaders warn that Border must not be exploited to undermine political settlement

They classified documents were entitled, “Northern Ireland: Handling Mr Haughey”; “Handling Mr Haughey II”; and “Handling Mr Haughey on Northern Ireland - Tactics”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Northern Ireland Office fretted that FF leader might renege on 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement

Prominent Ulster Defence Association figure John Boreland, who was murdered with a shotgun outside his north Belfast home. Photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

Prominent UDA figure John Boreland was warned he was under loyalist death threat

A police van at the scene in Sunningdale Gardens, north Belfast, after prominent loyalist John Boreland was shot dead. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

After Sunday’s shooting PSNI will be planning how to deal with yet another paramilitary feud

Jim Mills, Mervyn Reilly, Angela Graham and Alan Madill at their Protestant Hall in Drum, Co Monaghan. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

Residents in Drum, Co Monaghan, are eager to protect their culture and traditions

 Adrianne says she hopes to rejoin the Orange Order in the women’s lodges. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Woman says she moved to Northern Ireland to overcome stress of being born male

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP poses in front of a mural titled ‘Love Wins’ in Belfast, where she delivered the Amnesty International Belfast Pride Lecture on the theme Marriage Equality: From Scotland With Love. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ruth Davidson delivers Amnesty lecture in Belfast on marriage equality

A general view of Belleek in Co Fermanagh where a police investigation has commenced into an incident in which a gun was fired in the village on Tuesday. Image: Google Streetview.

PSNI says shot aimed at van of contractor working at hotel in Co Fermanagh village

DUP Minister for Communities Paul Givan. His draft Bill would see some alterations to the current pub-opening hours in Northern Ireland

Both vintners and cleric criticise proposed legislation to liberalise licensing laws

Eric Kuhne at the launch of Titanic Belfast. He has died aged 64.  Photograph: Titanic Belfast/Flickr

Texas designer’s tourist attraction ‘celebrates five centuries of city’s maritime legacy’

The scene of the crash in Ballygar, Galway, where Tina and Joey Kelly were pronounced dead. Photograph: Hany Marzouk

Mother and her 14-year-old son were among those killed in fatal incidents

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