Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan who attended the battle of the Somme anniversary in Belfast on Wednesday. Photograph: Collins

Government will formally remember those killed in battle at State Ceremony next year

 DUP Minister for Finance Arlene Foster. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Assembly adopts DUP Minister for Finance’s ‘fantasy’ budget despite massive shortfall

Part of a  processing plant at Carrickedmund near the Louth /Armagh border where customs officers uncovered a diesal laundering operation. Photograph: Tom Conachy

New diesel marker could be a ‘game changer in fight against organised crime’

John Finucane, son of Pat Finucane speaking with media outside Belfast’s High Court. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Court rules British prime minister had not acted unlawfully in refusing to hold a public inquiry

Geraldine Finucane (right), the widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Court rules British prime minister had not acted unlawfully in refusing to hold a public inquiry

Victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth are to sue An Garda Siochána over its failure to take action when they were allegedly notified in the 1970s that Smyth was a child sex abuser. Photograph: Alan Betson

Evidence to Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry has prompted legal proceedings

Cardinal Seán Brady told the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry the scandal of Brendan Smyth’s paedophilia was “kept a secret – very, very secret”. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Cardinal admits ‘shroud of secrecy’ applied to paedophile priest’s actions

The inquiry is looking at  how the Catholic Church and Norbertine Order failed the children abused by Brendan Smyth.

Paedophile priest wrote to late Cardinal Daly from Derry prison, inquiry told

File photograph of former abbot of the Norbertine Order and Brendan Smyth’s superior, Kevin Smith, who told police he did not realise at the time that paedophilia was a crime.

Evidence given by former Norbertines head concerning priest challenged at inquiry

Paedophile priest Brendan Smyth wrote to the late Cardinal Cahal Daly from prison to deny that his sexual abuse of boys and girls had caused serious damage to the Catholic Church. Photograph: Pacemaker

Paedophile priest wrote to late Cardinal Daly from Derry prison, inquiry told

Brendan Smyth: told doctor after his arrest he may have abused 50-100 children, and that ‘number could even be double or perhaps even more’. Photograph: Pacemaker

Norbertine priest had serious concerns about Smyth’s proclivities before he was ordained

Retired Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Sean Brady, who as far back as 1975 heard allegations of sexual abuse against the late  Fr Brendan Smyth, is to give evidence at the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down on Thursday. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Ex-primate acknowledges culture of ‘secrecy and silence’ over clerical child sex abuse

Sinn Fein party colleagues Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Conor Murphy announce that Sinn Féin will back Stormont’s so-called ‘fantasy budget’ in an attempt to buy time to find a solution on welfare. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Martin McGuinness says decision ‘creates space’ to find resolution to welfare impasse

Failings that allowed notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth (above) to abuse children for four decades will be examined by a public inquiry on Monday

Inquiry in North hears notorious paedophile priest abused children for decades

 DUP Minister for Finance Arlene Foster has been  given permission to accelerate the passage of the budget Bill through the Northern Assembly so that it could become law by the end of July. File photograph: Lesley-Anne McKeown /PA Wire

NI budget will be predicated on welfare reform going ahead, says Arlene Foster

Nicola Russell who passed away at the Marie Curie hospice in Belfast on Monday after living with cancer since 2007. Photograph: William Cherry/Pacemaker

Artist also specialised in portraits including subjects such as Bill Clinton and Mo Mowlam

Two men were found dead in a house in St Patrick’s Terrace in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh. Police are waiting on the results of a post mortem to try to determine how the men died

Police waiting results of post mortem to determine cause of deaths

 Sarah Ewart arrives at court as a judicial review into Northern Ireland’s abortion laws  begins  in the High Court in Belfast. Photograph:  Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Ireland, San Marino, Malta and Andorra only European countries that prohibit abortion in these circumstances

Former Northern Ireland police ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan: claims that ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of deaths happened in the North as a result of security force collusion. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Evidence is ‘overwhelming’, says human rights group after ‘Prime Time’ documentary

Sarah Ewart had to travel to England to have an abortion in 2013 after being told her unborn baby had no chance of survival. Photograph: Lesley-Anne McKeown/PA Wire

Woman who travelled to end pregnancy because of fatal abnormality joins legal action

No blank cheque from UK government, says shadow Northern Secretary Ivan Lewis

Paula  and Claire McCartney, sisters of  Robert McCartney, who together with their three other sisters were to have been key witnesses in the case against two senior republicans charged with IRA membership. Photograph: REUTERS/Paul McErlane

Reporting restriction on naming the sisters lifted by Belfast Crown Court

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory:   accepts the criticisms in report by Sir Keir Starmer

Barra McGrory rejects suggestions that public has lost confidence in North’s Public Prosecution Service

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinnes: “Her death, like the death of all victims of the conflict, was an absolute tragedy”. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Caroline Moreland shot dead shortly before August 1994 ceasefire

Organisation said it exploited lax security to make ‘symbolic gesture’

Gerry Adams: “I have committed no offence.” Photograph: Eric Luke.

Tests to justify prosecution of SF leader in relation to abuse by Liam Adams not met

Were it clear that Aine Adams had in 1987 alleged rape rather than the less specific term of sexual abuse, then under law Gerry Adams would have been obliged to report that information to the police. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Decision linked to sex abuse of SF chief’s niece centres on meeting in Buncrana in 1987

The North’s Public Prosecution Service was correct to conclude that Gerry Adams should not be prosecuted for withholding information about the sexual abuse of his niece Aine Adams, a report by the Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin, QC, has concluded. Photograph: Alan Betson

Report found Adams should not be prosecuted for withholding information about niece

 DUP finance minister Arlene Foster. Ms Foster is to press ahead with a ‘fantasy budget’ in the North despite the refusal of Sinn Féin and the SDLP to sign up to its welfare reform element. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin and SDLP still refuse to sign up to welfare reform element of fiscal plan

Youth believed to have taken his own life after he was tricked into posting images online

Ivor Bell, leaving Belfast Laganside Court, where he faced counts of aiding and abetting the killing of Jean McConville and of IRA membership. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Veteran republican Ivor Bell has been charged in connection with murder

Belfast artist Colin Davidson. Silent Testimony, a new  exhibition by the artist  exploring the theme of suffering and loss in the Troubles, opens today. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Press Eye

Colin Davidson’s Silent Testimony exhibition explores themes of loss and suffering

New IIEA book examines possible future relationships between UK and the EU

The Tricolour and another unsanctioned flag flying over Parliament Buildings at Stormont. Photograph: Winston Irvine/PUP/PA Wire

DUP member Peter Weir writes to authorities demanding to know how flag was erected

The Beatles play live in the King’s Hall in south Belfast in November 1964. From left to right are Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon. File photograph: Nick Newbery/PRONI

Shots taken in King’s Hall in November 1964 by photographer who didn’t even like band

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers: “The situation looks increasingly grim. No resolution was found at this afternoon’s meeting and time is running out.” Photograph: David Young/PA

Robinson wants to push through budget to test if Sinn Féin will sign up to welfare reform

DUP leader Peter Robinson speaking during a press conference outside Stormont Castle on Tuesday.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

DUP leader said he would cut back on work but was back at Stormont Castle in morning

Orange Order: a new film, Strong to Survive, casts light on families bereaved during the Troubles. Photograph: Russell Cheyne

Movie describes the fear many Protestant families endured over decades of conflict

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers. Ms Villiers and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan are to attempt to break the stalemate that threatens the Northern 	Executive. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

DUP and Sinn Féin still at loggerheads in over planned welfare reform in the North

Darren Fichardt of South Africa hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. “As much as they are loving coming here they are not exactly loving the conditions,” said Pádraig Harrington. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

For McIlroy, it was ‘Hamlet’ without the Prince; for the international golfers at Royal County Down, it was ‘blow, winds, and crac(...)

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson at the Irish Open, at Royal County Down golf club, on Saturday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

First Minister blames illness on diet and lack of exercise

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and  Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers have decided to invite the leaders of the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance to the meeting after it became clear  that local politicians had no idea how to end a stalemate linked to the Stormont House Agreement. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times.

Five main NI party leaders invited to talks with Villiers and Flanagan next week

The funeral of journalist Martin O’Hagan whose 2001  murder featured in a Panorama programme. Former Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan has claimed that “hundreds and hundreds” of deaths happened in Northern Ireland as a result of security force collusion.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Nuala O’Loan says some paramilitaries recruited as informants were ‘serial killers’

DUP ministers Arlene Foster, Simon Hamilton, Jonathan Bell and Michelle McIlveen after an Executive meeting at Storming Castle as Northern Ireland’s  ministers fail to agree a budget for public spending for next year. Photograph: PA

DUP, Ulster Unionists and Alliance blame Sinn Féin for crisis

Daniel and Amy McArthur of the Ashers Baking Company. The company was found guilty of discrimination against a gay rights advocate by refusing to bake him a cake with a slogan promoting same-sex marriage. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/PA Wire

Belfast company prosecuted for refusing to bake cake featuring same-sex marriage message

Theresa  Villiers said there was still  time to try to break  political deadlock in Stormont while indicating that ultimately she may take over control of welfare.   File photograph: Hannah McKay/EPA

Martin McGuinness warns Northern Secretary a takeover would be ‘huge mistake’

Police Federation for Northern Ireland Mark Lindsay told the federation’s annual conference in Belfast:  “You cannot savage the bottom line and expect performance and delivery to remain unaffected.”

Combating terror not served well by best accounting practices, conference told

 Minister for Finance Arlene Foster  warned that rejection of the welfare proposals would create an unsustainable £604 million (€854 million) deficit in the Stormont budget. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Sinn Féin joins forces with SDLP and Green MLA to veto reform proposals

Peter Robinson underwent a procedure for a heart condition on Monday. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Minister says debate must proceed despite Stormont deadlock over welfare reform

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory  apologises to the three women who were “let down” by the North’s Public Prosecution Service

Barra McGrory apologises to Cahill over ‘cock-up not conspiracy’

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory apologises to three woman who accused an alleged IRA member of abusing them as children,  after a damning report criticised how  the  prosecution was handled at the Public Prosecution Service offices in Belfast. Photograph: Gerry Moriarty/The Irish Times

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt says DPP Barra McGrory should ‘consider his position’

Maíria Cahill outside the Dáil. The North’s DPP Barra McGrory, QC, has apologised to Ms Cahill  and two other women over how the PPS dealt with criminal allegations that they were sexually abused by an IRA member. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Independent review finds that abused women were ‘let down by the PPS and counsel’

The Prince of Wales meets Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror/PA wire

Royal couple continue theme of peace and reconciliation as visit moves to the North

 Theresa Villiers, who met senior representatives from the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance at Stormont today. Photograph: Hannah McKay

Peter Robinson warns Northern Executive and Assembly could collapse next week

Bert and Ernie on the “Support Gay Marriage” cake. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan.

The law is no trifling pursuit, so why did NI’s legal system concern itself with that cake?

Charles with his beloved great uncle Lord Mountbatten in July 1979: when the prince takes a tour of Classiebawn Castle he may recall the many stories Mountbatten told him about the place where he and his extended family holidayed every August. Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Prince planned secret visit in submarine in years after Mountbatten’s death

Judge Brownlie said Ashers was not a religious organisation but was “in business for profit”. She found that the company was “guilty of unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”. Photograph: Getty Images

Northern Ireland bakery now deciding whether to appeal judge’s ruling

The bakery refused to make a cake with this image on it.

Christian-owned Belfast bakery refused to make cake carrying a pro-gay marriage slogan

Munster’s Paul O’Connell scores a try. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘If I did have a fiver to bet, probably the price of a coffee in Ireland, I’d have it on Munster’

The SDLP said they have deep concerns that the DUP is attempting to influence the Tory British bill of rights to create a “right to parade” in exchange for support for their slim Commons majority. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister emphasises governments’ duty to safeguard human rights dimension of pact

File photograph of SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell. Photograph: PA

Dr Alasdair McDonnell says he ‘will win’ if challenged

First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson has carried out a significant reshuffle of DUP ministerial posts in the North’s Executive. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Foster, who moves to Finance, and Hamilton, now in Health, viewed as potential successors to Robinson as First Minister

Piper Gary McDonald and (L to R) Dr Frank Costello, Rev Jack Lamb and  Jim McAuley at the ceremony remembering victims of the Famine  buried in Shankill Graveyard

‘I always thought the Famine was in the south. Here it was sort of airbrushed’

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. UK prime minister David Cameron has confirmed that Ms Villiers is to continue in her position.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

David Cameron tweets confirmation that minister will continue in her position

Northern Secretary, Theresa Villiers said the Stormont House Agreement must be enforced. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

NI parties assess Westminster results to determine prospects in next Assembly elections

DUP Leader Peter Robinson celebrates with MPs  Nigel Dodds and Gavin Robinson at the Kings Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Cameron’s overall majority has severely dented Robinson’s DUP prediction

DUP leader Peter Robinson celebrates with MPs (left to right) Sammy Wilson, Nigel Dodds, Gavin Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson at the Kings Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

McCrea lost out to Kinahan, the only UUP member to back same sex marriage

Significant changes in electoral arithmetic

Nigel Dodds (centre) celebrates with DUP leader Peter Robinson (right) and Gavin Robinson (left). Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP deputy leader elected with 19,096 votes, 5,000 more than Kelly

An independent review into how the North’s Public Prosecution Service dealt with three cases of alleged sexual abuse by an IRA man against Maíria Cahill (pictured) and two other women is to be published shortly, the PPS has confirmed. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

North’s Public Prosecution Service received report on Wednesday from Keir Starmer QC

Sinn Féin party leader Gerry Adams. The party   mainly blames dissident republicans for  recent intimidation and attacks on homes and property of party politicians in Northern Ireland. File photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Latest in a series of threats and attacks on homes and property of Sinn Féin politicians

A PSNI officer watches over the scene of the fatal shooting of former senior IRA figure, Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison on Welsh Street in the Markets area of Belfast on Tuesday. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Suspect being questioned by PSNI serious crime detectives

First Minister Peter Robinson has built up the possible role of the DUP after the election.

Party says there will be no change in its Westminster abstentionist policy

Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison was viewed as an assertive figure in the area and would not have been universally popular. Photograph: Daily Ireland

Victim was questioned in connection with 33-year-old Robert McCartney killing in 2005

Mike Nesbitt (UUP leader); Naomi Long (Alliance); Mark Durkan (SDLP); Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) and Nigel Dodds (DUP deputy leader) take part in a televised election debate chaired by BBC presenter. Photograph: William Cherry/BBC Northern Ireland via Getty Images

SF does not want to ‘bestow legitimacy’ on Britain having sovereignty over NI

Liam Adams has lost an appeal at the High Court in Belfast against his conviction and sentence for raping and abusing his daughter. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Adams (60) sought to have 16-year conviction for rape of daughter Áine overturned

Forensic officers in Welsh Street, in the Markets area near Belfast city centre following the fatal shooting of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison, a former IRA commander. Photograph: PA Wire

Former IRA commander was shot a ‘number of times’ as children were going to school

DUP candidate Ian Paisley jnr walks along the Dark Hedges whilst out canvassing  in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Voters across 18 constituencies could have big say in make-up of new parliament

Naomi Long: “I’m quite happy to start as the underdog.” Photograph: The Irish Times

Sitting MP Naomi Long faces uphill struggle to retain seat against unity unionist rival

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell is  accused by his Sinn Féin adversary of being “one of the worst attendees at Westminster”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Intriguing contest in which SF’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir capable of running SDLP chief close

Two tribes: “North Belfast is starkly divided,” says Dodds. “I wouldn’t canvass on my own in Ardoyne, let’s put it that way.” Photograph: The Irish Times

Unionist pact may be enough for DUP man to hold seat ahead of Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly

Upper Bann constituency profile

DUP Health Minister Jim Wells (left) at Stormont on Monday. Photograph: Press Eye.

Health Minister resigns after complaints to PSNI about his remarks to lesbian couple

All DUP members  present voted against the motion, including First Minister and party leader Peter Robinson. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Sinn Féin motion defeated by majority of 49 votes to 47

DUP politician Jim Wells who has quit days after he sparked controversy with comments about gay marriage. Photograph: PA

Analysis: From the moment the comments emerged the DUP knew it faced electoral damage

More calls on Health Minister to resign as Assembly votes for fourth time on gay marriage

The  DUP’s Jim Wells, who has apologised for controversial remarks he made about gay marriage and child abuse. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Calls for resignation of Health Minister Jim Wells despite apology but party stands by him

Michelle Gildernew: after the courts examined the 2010 result her margin of victory over agreed unionist candidate Rodney Connor was reduced to a single vote. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan

If there are more unionists on the register this could again be very close

The death has occurred of Desmond Boal, QC, who with his former friend, Ian Paisley established the Democratic Unionist Party in 1971

Along with Ian Paisley, the lawyer was a founding member of the DUP

Sinn Féin candidate for Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady: Says this is a “two horse race” between him and the UUP’s Danny Kennedy. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

From Daniel Craig to ‘catholic tastes’, a profile of the Newry and Armagh candidates

Sammy Wilson: Genial if also mischievous incumbent is favourite to secure the seat with a healthy majority. Photograph: The Irish Times

Outgoing Eurosceptic MP and DUP man can afford to enjoy campaign more than rivals

Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson speaks at the launch of the Democratic Unionist Party Election Manifesto at Wrightbus, supplier of the London Routemaster buses on April 21, 2015 in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

First Minister confident that DUP will regain East Belfast seat he lost to Naomi Long

Sinn Féin party leader Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness during the launch of the party’s General Election manifesto in Dungannon, CoTyrone on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Adams says that if issue goes to referendum in Britain, North should have separate vote

Durkan (54), who is in his third Westminster election campaign, having also served as deputy first minister, blames the DUP and Sinn Féin for the latest logjam. Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/GettyImages

John Hume’s successor knows too well how Northern Ireland’s political rivalries work

Jeffrey Donaldson: Out every day canvassing the streets of Lisburn and towns and villages of his constituency. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Lagan Valley MP enjoys 10,000 majority but constituency to be contested by eight rivals

Margaret Ritchie:  Unionist support and determination to retain South Down should ensure she is returned. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

History suggests that several thousand unionist votes are likely to be cast for Ritchie

SDLP Leader Alasdair McDonnell. File photograph: PA

Party rules out supporting Cameron in government

After years of being beaten by John Hume, Gregory Campbell knows it pays to stick with it. Photograph: Eric Luke

DUP candidate for East Derry knows the benefits of publicity

Queen’s University Belfast is to cut its student intake by more than 1,000 and shed 236 jobs because of an £8 million reduction in its Stormont funding

236 academic and non-academic jobs to go because of budget cuts

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