Peter Robinson: menace, bite and presence. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Peter Robinson pays tribute to expected successors Nigel Dodds and Arlene Foster

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson: ‘My successor will face the sometimes ferocious rigour of high office. It is not a task for the faint-hearted. There will be long dark nights but believe me, morning does come.’ Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

First Minister gives final address as he prepares to step down as party leader

Northern Ireland’s finance minister Arlene Foster: did not make any comment in her speech as to whether she will seek the First Minister post. File Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

North’s finance minister warns against return to direct rule from London

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds: one of the possible contenders in the race to take over from Peter Robinson. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Deputy leader tells party conference outgoing First Minister ‘has delivered’

Nigel Dodds, Arlene Foster and party leader Peter Robinson  at the  annual DUP conference at the Lamon House hotel in Castlereagh on Friday. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds viewed as main contender to succeed Robinson as leader

Powersharing deal: Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin and Peter Robinson of the DUP at Stormont. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

This week’s deal puts the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly back in business

 Peter Robinson, with his wife Iris, after  winning back his East Belfast seat in 1987. Photograph: Pacemaker

First Minister and DUP leader reflects on his time in politics following his resignation

A file image of Northern Ireland First Minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Peter Robinson who confirmed on Thursday he is to stand down from the role and as leader of the DUP.  Photograph: Reuters

Analysis: Performing political somersaults to keep Stormont going was mortifying for him

SDLP deputy leader Fearghal McKinney (right): “Sinn Féin is doing Tory austerity – and in spades”. Photograph Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

SDLP accuses party of diluting devolution by giving powers back to Westminster

First Minister Peter Robinson (right) speaks alongside Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle. Photograph: PA

Minister of Finance finds additional £77m for Northern Executive departments

Theresa Villiers and Charlie Flanagan at the conclusion of extended talks. Photograph Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Deadlock on welfare broken but no deal for victims and survivors of the Troubles

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan after agreement was reached at Stormont House yesterday. Photograph: Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Latest Stormont House deal has a reasonable chance of succeeding

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and  Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan  at Stormont House in Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

British and Irish governments announce new agreement to overcome deadlock

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson have made “great progress”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers cautions players time at hand to ‘make your mind up’

Irish Government must hold “the British government to account” over allegations UDA intelligence officer Brian Nelson was allegedly urged by his British intelligence handlers to get the UDA to launch a bombing campaign in the Republic in the late 1980s, says Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly

British agent Brian Nelson allegedly involved in plots to murder Adams and McGuinness

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers who said on Monday the Northern Ireland talks cannot go on indefinitely. Photograph: Getty

Theresa Villiers says remaining issues need to be resolved over the course of this week

Colum Eastwood: at 32, the youngest-ever leader of the SDLP and the youngest MLA in the Assembly delivered a cracking victory speech.  Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Colum Eastwood gives stirring speech as he takes party’s helm

Colum Eastwood with new deputy leader Fearghal McKinney. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The 32-year-old Assembly member defeated Dr Alasdair McDonnell for top post

Colum Eastwood, who has been elected as the new  SDLP leader is seen with the   new deputy leader Fearghal McKinney at the  party’s conference in the Armagh City Hotel on Saturday. Photograph: Pacemaker

Derry Assembly member defeats Dr Alasdair McDonnell to become sixth leader of party

Dr Alasdair McDonnell has defended his record as leader of the SDLP and said he wants to continue in the role so that the party can be ready, not just for next May’s Assembly elections, but for elections for the next 20 years. Photograph: Alan Betson

SDLP leader says Stormont seems to lurch from one crisis to another

Loyalist protestor outside Hillsborough during the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement

Chronology of attempts before and since the Anglo-Irish agreement

Ian Paisley and Jim Molyneaux address the 250,000 crowd at the anti Anglo-Irish rally in Belfast in 1985 where he made in infamous Never Never Never speach.

Sense of betrayal and exclusion fueled unionist rage and furious protests

Stormont’s Parliament Buildings illuminated in red. After a week of intense negotiations, British and Irish Ministers and senior Northern politicians were unable to sign off on a deal. Photograph: PA

‘Fundamental issues’ remain but Villiers remains ‘hopeful for an agreement’

The North South Ministerial Council meeting was postponed so talks at Stormont could continue. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA

NSMC meeting in Armagh postponed so discussions in Belfast can ‘reach conclusion’

The thran man: Alasdair McDonnell, leader of the SDLP. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Worrying times ahead for party which is holding its annual conference this weekend

Stormont’s Parliament Buildings illuminated in red for Armistice Day on Wednesday. Photograph: Lesley-Anne McKeown/PA

North-South Ministerial Council meeting postponed to allow political talks continue

Kevin McDaid (49) who was beaten to death by a sectarian mob in May 2009 after a Celtic v Rangers football match. Photograph: Handout/PA Wire.

Loyalists beat Catholic man to death after watching Rangers v Celtic game in Derry

British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers: she has been resisting demands for more finance to lighten the effects of welfare cuts. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Problems over welfare reform and Troubles legacy holding up Stormont agreement

A file photo taken on February 2nd, 1972 shows mourners attending the funerals of the 13 “Bloody Sunday” victims, in Derry. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The 66-year-old, known as Lance Corporal J from the Saville report, was arrested on Tuesday

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson: ‘Things are going in the right direction.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Deputy First Minister says great progress has been made in talks between parties

British paratroopers take away civil rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday after the paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march, killing 14 civilians. Photograph: Getty Images

PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch say they arrested man (66) in Co Antrim

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was positive on the prospect of a deal in the North after meeting Mr Cameron, saying he was “hopeful” of a resolution. Photograph: The Irish Times

Governments closing in on elusive agreement which they hope to finalise this week

Taoiseach Enda Kenny lays a wreath as crowds gather for Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Kenny confident that talks will restore stability to Northern Executive and Assembly

  Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin. A new interview with the Archbishop is to be broadcast on Irish TV. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Church found it hard to resist inequality arguments in same-sex vote - Eamon Martin

Former British prime minister Tony Blair and former taoiseach Bertie Ahern at an event marking the Good Friday Agreement. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Poll suggests there is a lack of support both North and South for the end of partition

Maghaberry houses about 1,000 prisoners, some of them on remand. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Report notes leadership deficit, with one chief inspector labelling prison Dickensian

The funeral of 39-year-old Declan McGlinchey, son of the late Irish National Liberation Army leader Dominic McGlinchey, who died suddenly from a heart attack on Sunday has taken place in Bellaghy, Co Derry. Photograph: Pacemaker.

Hundreds of people follow behind coffin draped in Starry Plough flag of INLA

Sir Anthony Hart, chairman of the North’s Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry, said the inquiry would complete its work by July next year and submit its report in January 2017. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Inquiry chairman wants proper compensation scheme for victims of institutional abuse

A woman cycles past a marriage equality mural in the Liberties area of Dublin last May. In the Republic, 67% of respondents were  comfortable with a close member of their family marrying someone of the same sex.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

RTÉ and BBC Northern Ireland link up in cross-Border poll of more than 2,000 adults

Ankle tagging: it is used to  to ensure that people stay where where the court has directed they remain at night; however the tags are not used to track their movements by GPS. Photograph: Chris Eades/Rex Features

Each year 1,200 people are ordered to wear the devices

Majority of Assembly members voted in favour of proposal for first time

John and Lynette Rodgers, from Holywood in Co Down. Photograph: Pacemaker Press/ Rodgers Family  John and Lynette Rodgers, from Holywood in Co Down. Photograph: Pacemaker Press/ Rodgers Family

John Rodgers and Lynette Reilly drowned while swimming in South Africa

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness: I think with goodwill on all sides it is achievable. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Deal on paramilitarism, welfare reform, budgets and the past ‘is achievable’

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness: “Is a deal achievable? I think with goodwill on all sides it is achievable . . . I do think we are talking more about days rather than weeks.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Deputy First Minister claims some parties have attempted to ‘sabotage’ negotiations

DUP Assembly member Emma Pengelly has been appointed a junior Minister in the Northern Executive. Photograph: Twitter

Appointment after four weeks as MLA likely to cause resentment within DUP

Supporters pictured in 2014 of the victims of the Ballymurphy shooting. Photograph: PA

Families say discovery proves some victims shot while in British army custody in 1971

The teenager arrested in connection with the TalkTalk hacking has been released on bail. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Boy (15) arrested on Monday after major security breach of telecoms company

Mr Reg Empey. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Westminster election performance a ‘breakthrough’ for party, says Reg Empey

John and Lynette Rodgers, from Holywood in Co Down, are understood to have drowned while visiting Plettenberg Bay as part of their honeymoon. Image: Caroline Smyth Photography/PA Wire.

John and Lynette Rodgers, who were on honeymoon, drowned in South Africa

UUP Leader Mike Nesbitt. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Party conference told Sinn Féin must ‘get real’ on issue of continued IRA existence

Stakeknife?: Freddie Scappaticci, the former IRA leader alleged to have been a British agent, in 2003. The media is barred from showing what he now looks like. Photograph: Pacemaker

The most senior IRA figure so far outed as having worked for British intelligence is alleged to be Freddie Scappaticci

Andy Allen: Co-opted to replace Michael Copeland as UUP Assembly member for East Belfast

Four members explain why they are optimistic about the party’s future

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt took over the party in March 2012 when the situation seemed desperate, but now there is a lot to play for. Photograph: PA

Analysis: The UUP leader is making progress while also exploiting the DUP’s difficulties

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt:  Confident more and more unionist voters will come back to the UUP from the DUP. Photograph: PA

After four difficult years, the Ulster Unionist Party leader is now in a stronger position

 SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell: said the IRA “went around the corner and joined Sinn Féin as they had been told to do, and now they are leafleting and electioneering”. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Alasdair McDonnell says report confirms IRA went away but ‘they didn’t go too far’

UUP Leader Mike Nesbitt at Stormont Parliament in Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Issue of existence of IRA army council was elephant in the room, says Mike Nesbitt

DUP Leader Peter Robinson  has ended his boycott of the Northern Executive which he called in the wake of the murder of Mr McGuigan. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Intense period of talks to begin following report that IRA army council still operating

DUP leader Peter Robinson  gives his reaction to a review of paramilitary structures in Northern Ireland. Photograph: PA

Martin McGuinness says IRA has delivered on the transition from conflict to peace

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers who  published a report into the status of the IRA and other paramilitary groups on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters

Robinson says he will resume post as First Minister and DUP Ministers will return

 Northern Secretary  Theresa Villiers is expected to disclose details of the report in the House of Commons. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Unionist reaction could determine whether Stormont talks can succeed

Father Ted writer Graham Linehan is  supporting Amnesty Northern Ireland’s campaign to liberalise the North’s abortion laws.

Father Ted writer speaks of wife Helen’s termination due to fatal foetal abnormality

Former president of South Africa FW de Klerk meets Patrick Johnston of Queens University Belfast on Thursday. Mr de Klerk addressed an invited audience of business education and political representatives on the role of leadership in a rapidly changing world. Photograph: Paul McErlane

Former South African president says politicians follow but statesmen lead

Bernadette Smyth, director of Precious Life, with US Republican congressman Chris Smith who visited the new Stanton Healthcare clinic in Belfast on Monday.

Clinic to provide ‘tangible help’ for women facing crisis pregnancies, US congressman says

The Ulster Defence Association, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando on Tuesday released a joint declaration of intent “recommitting” themselves to the peaceful and democratic principles of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters.

Initiative comes amid concern about ‘drift’ in loyalism and a risk of return to fighting

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers appointed a three-person panel last month to review the PSNI assessment of the current status of paramilitary groups. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Assessment, expected Thursday, could dictate if political impasse can be resolved

Prior to being charged with dissident republican membership in the Special Criminal Court in January 2015, Adrian Crevan Mackin (24)  had been convicted in Northern Ireland of having extreme pornographic images on his computer.

Killer of Garda Tony Golden had engaged in activities such as drugs and counterfeit cash

Martin McGuinness with masked IRA men at the funeral of Brendan Burns in 1988. File photograph: Pacemaker

Senior Sinn Féin member is asked question repeatedly during new interview on Irish TV

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers addresses the Conservative Party conference at Manchester Central on Wednesday. Photograph: PA

Theresa Villiers tells Tory conference possibility exists of return to British direct rule

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers has warned the survival of devolved government in Northern Ireland is at stake in the current talks aimed at resolving the key issues of paramilitarism and the deadlock over welfare reform. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters.

Northern Secretary says resistance to welfare reform could collapse powersharing

Terry Leathem, principal of Glenwood Primary School on the Shankill Road.

Glenwood Primary School principal not surprised Protestant working class boys are underachieving compared with their Catholic coun(...)

Shipyard workers in 1999. Protestant school-leavers still think more in terms of jobs than higher education, though many of the jobs have gone. Photograph: Stephen Davison

North’s Equality Commission also finds racist bullying of children from minority groups

Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard: “lack of discernible unionist political reaction.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Loyalist paramilitary group asserts it ‘won’t be leaving the stage’ while republican groups still operating

A masked member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) colour party at a Remembrance Day service  in  north Belfast, in  2004. Photograph: PA

Loyalist paramilitary group will remain ‘whilst republicans of any faction still exist’

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers:  was involved in the negotiations at Stormont with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan on Thursday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Politicians will also meet to address issue of paramilitarism following doubt over talks

The PSNI and new National Crime Agency’s combined efforts during Operation Jarra resulted in the arrests of 25 people in Northern Ireland

Viewers of indecent images leave a digital footprint and we will find them, says NCA chief

DUP leader and former Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP leader rejects allegation made by loyalist blogger as ‘scurrilous’

Theresa Villiers: the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has published proposals on how to help victims of the Troubles. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Northern Secretary insists proposals do not amount to an amnesty for ex-paramilitaries

The scene of the shooting in Loughgall, Co Armagh, in 1987. Photograph: Tom Lawlor/The Irish Times

Investigation into death of civilian and eight IRA men justified, says advocate general

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers at her office in Stormont House, Belfast, after publishing proposed legislation to establish new mechanisms to deal with the legacy of the Troubles  contained in the Stormont House Agreement. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Northern Secretary sets out how historic killings to be investigated and victims aided

A file image from 1987 showing the  wreckage of the mechanical digger and the van used by the IRA men at Loughgall. Photograph: The Irish Times

North’s Advocate General decides inquests justified into deaths of civilian, eight IRA men

The PSNI arrested a 56 year-old woman in Belfast, while the gardaí arrested a 47 year-old man in Donegal

One man already charged with murder of Edward Gibson (28) in October 2014

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Group will judge PSNI assessment of IRA’s status in bid to break deadlock in North

Policing Board to discuss report with chief constable

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has announced the names of the three members of the one-off panel on the Stormont crisis. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Lord Carlile, Rosalie Flanagan and Stephen Shaw to assess paramilitary activity in NI

“Our politicians have a critical opportunity to restore hope to those who are struggling,” said Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin in a joint statement with other Christian leaders. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Clerics urge Stormont politicians to be aware of ‘shared responsibilty for common good’

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness with Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams before entering talks on Monday. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The latest round of cross-party talks at Stormont follows months of tension in the North

(Left to right) Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald, Martin McGuinness, Michelle O’Neill and Gerry Adams arrive to speak to the media at Stormont in Belfast, as talks involving Northern Ireland’s five main political parties begin.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Martin McGuinness complains about suggestions at Northern crisis talks at Stormont

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams make their way to a press conference at the front of Stormont on Monday. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

McGuinness says both sides must apply ‘spirit of generosity’ throughout talks

DUP leader Peter Robinson. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Irish and British governments will join discussions aimed at solving Stormont crisis

DUP leader Peter Robinson has been released from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Former first minister treated as a ‘precaution’ after reaction to medication

 DUP party leader Peter Robinson: “I am an optimist by nature. I believe that there is a way through . . . I still believe that the direction of travel is right.” Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP leader Villiers to make commitments before engaging in all-party negotiations

Taoiseach Enda Kenny he hopes talks to resolve the crisis at Stormont can ‘be got on track’ shortly. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Flanagan and Villiers to meet delegations from some of North’s parties on Wednesday

Arlene Foster: Made it clear that the DUP was expecting more from Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. Photograph: PA

Robinson and Foster raise doubts about whether substantive negotiations can start

Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers delivers the British government statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

New IMC body and British crime agency would judge status of paramilitary groups

DUP leader Peter Robinson: appears to want some commitments in relation to a body or bodies that would help establish whether or not the IRA has gone away. Photograph: Getty Images

Reassuring DUP without alienating Sinn Féin is task facing Northern Secretary

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt (right) after speaking to the media at Stormont in Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Northern Secretary to outline basis for negotiations to resolve political deadlock

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speaks to reporters at Stormont Castle in Belfast on Monday. Photograph: Getty

Unionist parties indicate they will not participate in talks unless preconditions are met

Comments by Bobby Storey that the IRA had gone away were ridiculed by the Traditional Unionist Voice party. Photograph: Reuters

Negotiations to rescue Stormont begin against expected level of recrimination

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