Sinn Féin’s Arder Carson: Elected as the first Lord Mayor of Northern Ireland’s newest and biggest council

North’s 11 authorities formed in biggest local government shake-up in more than 40 years

MP Naomi Long is under considerable pressure to hold on to her seat in this election as the Ulster Unionist Party, in an electoral pact, has agreed not to stand in the constituency, giving the advantage to the DUP candidate Gavin Robinson. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Flags are not now an issue on the doorsteps, says MP Naomi Long

Contract law is ‘at the heart’ of the so-called ‘gay cake’ case, a lawyer acting for the Equality Commission and Gareth Lee in the action against Ashers Baking Company has contended. Photograph: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Contract law ‘at heart’ of case where bakery refused to make cake with message ‘Support Gay Marriage’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pledged to renew pressure on the British government to agree to an inquiry into the August 1971 Ballymurphy killings which resulted in 11 killings. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Taoiseach meets families of 11 people who were shot by British soldiers in 1971

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Bakery arrive at Belfast County Court. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/PA Wire

Ashers Bakery says state obliged to protect people in cases of conscientious objection

Seán Lavery, tax partner at BDO; Adrian Doran, head of corporate banking at Barclays Northern Ireland; Colin Walsh chairman of  CBI Northern Ireland; Taoiseach Enda Kenny; and director general of the CBI John Cridland. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

UK exit from Europe would be ‘most profound issue’ for the North, says Kenny

Daniel McArthur (second right) of Asher’s Bakery and his wife Amy McArthur (right) along with family members leave court. Photograph: Getty

Cake with motto ‘Support Gay Marriage’ was against bakery’s ethos, court told

Gary Hart has said “you can’t attract 12 or 15 or 24 executive vice presidents of fairly substantial corporations to come over here for three or four days if there is confusion or lack of resolution on budgetary issues”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Retired senator believes Robinson and McGuinness will do deal before UK election

File photo dated January 5th, 1976 of the bullet riddled minibus where 10 Protestant textile workers were shot shot dead in an IRA attack near the Co Armagh village of Kingsmill in 1976. Photograph: PA

Families of 10 Protestants killed in 1976 believe Government failed to properly police border

 Liam Adams who has begun an  appeal against his conviction and sentence for raping and sexually abusing his daughter. Photograph: PA

Lawyer alleges judge’s final direction to jury wasn’t clear during conviction appeal

Ashers, which has six shops employing 62 people, is being prosecuted for refusing to bake a cake with a slogan stating “Support Gay Marriage”. It was also to feature the Sesame Street puppets, Bert and Ernie, with their arms around one another. Photograph: Getty

So-called Bert and Ernie ‘gay cake’ court case opens on Thursday

Gerry Kelly MLA North Belfast: Northern Ireland Affairs Committee “comprised politicians all of whom oppose Sinn Féin”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

MLA for North Belfast says NI investigating committee’s report ‘politically driven’ attack

Poet Michael Longley speaking at the Ulster Hall, where he received the freedom of Belfast. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan/PhotopressBelfast

Michael D Higgins praises poet for his body of work and role in the Belfast Agreement

Two masked men, one believed to be armed with a handgun, were involved in the incident, according to the PSNI

SDLP Assembly member Alban Maginness has described as ‘sickening and vile’

DUP Assembly member and East Derry MP Gregory Campbell. Mr Campbell has been censured in the Assembly for ‘blatantly disrespectful’ behaviour after yawning loudly as a Sinn Féin MLA spoke in Irish. Photograph: Trevor McBride

DUP Assembly member punished again after yawning as Sinn Féin MLA spoke in Irish

Lifelike: We start with the victim and end up directing a heavily armed Swat-type team about to hit on the main suspect. We get to deploy a surveillance helicopter. There’s even a car chase. Photograph: E+/Getty

The PSNI challenged journalists to solve a fictional murder using real policing techniques – and with the same pressures on time, (...)

Belfast city centre. Photograph: Nigel Andrews/Thinkstock

Van the Man, St George’s Market, CS Lewis, the Odyssey: a class from east Belfast have co-written a poem celebrating the things th(...)

East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said:  “I believe the prime minister should work to establish a cross-Border inquiry which could focus on the horrific crimes suffered by victims and the way in which cases were covered up by republicans.”  File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Maíria Cahill accuses Sinn Féin of ‘still not admitting covering up cases of abuse’

David Best’s wooden temple in Derry which will be set alight on the evening of Saturday, March 21st. Photograph: Martin McKeown/

Artist David Best brings Nevada desert ritual to the North

Former Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan has released a letter he says he sent in 2009 to Louth man Paudie McGahon, who told BBC Spotlight he was raped by an IRA man. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

In the letter dated April 27th 2009, Mr Morgan said he hoped Mr McGahon would contact gardaí about his allegations

Paudie McGahon claims he was raped by an IRA member.

Alleged victim says IRA brought its own psychiatrist to a “kangaroo court” and also offered to put a “bullet in the back of head”(...)

Theresa Villiers, Northern Secretary, says unless the disagreement over welfare in the North is solved, all sides are in “a pretty serious situation”.  Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

Stormont in crisis as Sinn Féin withdraws backing for Bill to revamp welfare

At the Sinn Féin ardfheis in Derry last weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Paudie McGahon says he was raped by IRA member

The Stormont House Agreement entailed the British government committing grants and loan-raising powers of £2 billion to allow the Northern Executive to cushion the effects of welfare reform, start a major public sector redundancy scheme, deal with the past, support shared and integrated education, and more besides. File photograph: Paul Faith

If NI politicians want to make life easier for welfare recipients, they must use existing funds

Paudie McGahon (40) from Co Louth pictured during the BBC Spotlight programme to be broadcast tonight. Photograph: BBC screengrab

Claim IRA subjected him to ‘kangaroo court’ and offered to kill alleged abuser

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan held telephone talks to try to solve the crisis. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Minister Flanagan seeks solution over new threat to Northern Executive and Assembly

Martin McGuinness said Sinn Féin would not be part of any agenda that punished the most vulnerable. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Martin McGuinness says Sinn Féin will oppose passage of welfare bill in Northern Assembly

A file image from the 1990s of former  Ulster Unionist leader James Molyneaux. Photograph: Reuters

Molyneaux led UUP from 1979 to 1995 and was one of the longest-serving leaders of the party

Gerry Adams and  Martin McGuinness after the latter’s address at the  ardfheis. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sinn Féin Ardfheis: Buoyant gathering suggests the biggest threat to party now is hubris

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams addresses the party’s ardfheis at the Millenium Forum in Derry. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Party leader pledges to abolish water charges and property tax and introduce wealth tax

Sinn  Féin president Gerry Adams, Cllr Noeleen Reilly and Donegal TD Pearse Doherty TD at the Sinn Fein ardfheis in  Derry. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Gildernew wants island-wide referendum during lifetime of next Dáil and Assembly

Potential partners: Peter Robinson with David Cameron in the Downing Street garden (bottom right) and with Ed Miliband in Belfast (bottom left); David Cameron formed his current coalition with Nick Clegg (top left); Robinson will be under pressure to deliver short-term gains to party colleagues frightened of Traditional Unionist Voice, the party of Jim Allister (top right). Photographs: Will Oliver/AFP/Getty, Charles McQuillan/Getty, Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty and Paul Faith/PA Wire

Peter Robinson and the Democratic Unionist Party are being wooed by David Cameron’s Conseratives and Ed Miliband’s Labour Party ah(...)

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness delivering an address at the opening of the Sinn Féin Ardfheis 2015 in Millennium Forum, Derry. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness addresses party ardfheis

Denis O’Brien: put up $750,000 with Paddy McKillen to help the  SDLP after New York dinner. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Party has not engaged in fundraising since ban on large foreign donations in 2007

SF is the party with the highest income and expenditure in the North

Cardinal Peter Turkson said that Pope Francis was planning to publish a papal encyclical later this year on human ecology. The cardinal is currently visiting Ireland.  File photograph:  Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Cardinal Peter Turkson announces planned papal encyclical during his visit to Ireland

Stormont. The Northern Ireland Assembly has adopted a motion criticising the naming of a Newry park after hunger striker Raymond McCreesh. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Debate on decision by Newry and Mourne Council to name play park for hunger striker

The office of the North’s Police Ombudsman has confirmed that a file is to be sent to the Northern Ireland director of public prosecutions to determine if two former police officers should be charged for a number of crimes including conspiracy to murder

Families complain about major UVF ‘supergrass’ trial taking so long to proceed

Under the Stormont House Agreement, £700 million is being set aside to pay for the cost of the 20,000 public sector redundancies  in Northern Ireland, with £200 million made available in each of the coming three years and £100 million provided in 2018/2019. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Photo

Stormont House Agreement to see 20,000 civil and public sector jobs shed over four years

The reduction in the number of departments was suggested during the Stormont House Agreement. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Northern Executive to be reduced in size from 12 to nine departments

Peter Robinson addressed a business breakfast in west Belfast on Friday in what the Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey described as a “historic” visit.Above,Peter Robinson  with Bishop Noel Treanor in the Great Hall at Stormont, Belfast..  Photo: Jonathan Porter

Peter Robinson says he wants ‘more jobs for everyone’ in Northern Ireland

The threat from dissident republicans remains severe in Northern Ireland but moderate in Britain, the Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers has informed Westminster. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

PSNI investigating booby-trap bomb incident in Armagh which left Sinn Féin supporter injured

Former Progressive Unionist Party leader Ms Purvis said the Northern Assembly “forces” any woman who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, and wants an abortion, to continue with that pregnancy against her will. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire.

Legislation in North breaches Britain’s ‘international human rights obligations’

The injured man was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for specialised face and eye treatment.

Sinn Féin accuses ‘gangs masquerading as republicans’ of attempted murder

A body has been found by police investigating the disappearance of a woman in Co Antrim.

Two men being questioned by PSNI in connection with case of Pauline Carmichael (61)

A diesel laundry discovered near Inniskeen last November. It has the capacity to launder 20 million litres a year. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson.

Criminal gangs operating out of south Armagh and along Border difficult to tackle

File photograph of former SDLP deputy first minister Seamus Mallon with David Trimble, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair at Stormont. A dinner in honour of Mr Mallon was attended by hundreds in Armagh. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Former SDLP deputy first minister praised for showing ‘disdain for sectarian politics’

File photo of SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell: A hospital consultant has said that Mr McDonnell’s recent comments about the inability to detect foetal abnormalities undermine the professional integrity of doctors. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Consultant challenges comment that “nobody can predict that a foetus is not viable”

Theresa Villiers says it’s time to end repeat of previous failed attempts to settle Twelfth of July standoff

 Bernard McGinley was buried in Athlone on Monday. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

PSNI investigating murder of man who was shot in Newtownbutler

Attorney General Maire Whelan. The Pat Finucane Centre has said it has informed her of this “new evidence”

Attorney General asked to follow-up on new documents showing British army retained more than 400 hours of interrogation recordings(...)

Oisín McGrath who died after an incident at his school. Photograph: Pacemaker

Sources say boy was injured as senior pupils sought to retrieve a ball from younger boys

Derek Brockwell. It is understood he was arrested while having a drink at a pub on Bedford Street, Belfast

On-the-run prisoner thought to have been caught drinking in city centre bar

PSNI Det Insp Michelle Griffin appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information to contact the police

Police appeal for witnesses after 17-year-old shot three times in legs by masked assailants

Former DUP minister for social development Nelson McCausland has described a decision by Newry, Mourne and Down district council to put Irish first on its logo and literature as an exercise in “cultural sectarianism”. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Former DUP minister says Newry, Mourne and Down district council’s policy is ‘political’

Two men were shot at a wedding in Newtownbutler,  Co Fermanagh on February 11th. Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press

Bernard McGinley, from Co Longford, was shot in Newtownbutler earlier this month

The suspected republican dissident paramilitary-style shooting happened around 9.20 pm in Monagh Drive when a 17-year-old male was shot.

Detectives are looking for witnesses to the suspected republican dissident paramilitary-style shooting

CCTV footage of Derek Brockwell (53) from Glasgow entering Urban Pharmacy on Belfast’s Dublin Road before he was caught by police on Wednesday night. Photograph: Pacemaker

Fugitive prisoner arrested outside Belfast pub

Oisin McGrath’s father Nigel (front right) carries Oisin’s coffin during his funeral at St Patrick’s Church in Holywell, Belcoo Co. Fermanagh: Niall Carson/PA Wire

17-year-old held on suspicion of manslaughter

Plans for the proposed hotel and drawings from the building’s ship-designing days. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

British Heritage Lottery Fund providing £4.9 million to restore historic derelict building

A suspected dissident republican bomb found following searches in a housing estate in Derry City was viable and “designed to kill”, a PSNI officer said.

Viable device discovered during searches in Currynierin after telephone warnings

The North’s Minister for Health Jim Wells wants to bring back prescription charges. Photograph: Thinkstock

Reintroduction of fees abolished in 2010 would help pay for specialist medicines

Members of the McGinley-Connors wedding party leave the church in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh,  after the shooting on Wednesday. Photograph:  Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker

Suspect, who is based in Republic, has large network of family, friends and associates in Britain

Oísin McGrath (13) died after he was injured in a playground incident, it was confirmed on Thursday night

Oisín McGrath (13) suffered injuries at school in Enniskillen during lunch break

The wedding party leaving  the church in Newtownbutler following an earlier fatal shooting in which a 63-year-old relative of the bride was killed.  Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press

Officer appeals for perpetrators to come forward before any ‘further bloodshed’

Members of a  wedding party leave a church in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh after a shooting in the grounds of St Mary’s Catholic church. Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press

Incident happened as bride was preparing to walk up the aisle, priest says

 Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said some SDLP Assembly members were defying Dr Alasdair McDonnell by tabling  amendments. Photograph: PA

McGuinness claims SDLP ‘dissidents” prepared to wreck Agreement

A rioting crowd on Dublin’s O’Connell Street , which resulted in the cancellation of a Love Ulster March through Dublin in 2006. Photograph: Alan Betson

Loyalist William Frazer calls for information about 1976 IRA Kingsmill massacre

David Strahan has  said he will continue in his job until September to allow a successor to be appointed to Translink, the company which runs Northern Ireland’s rail and main bus services.

Translink head gives up £155,000 job to devote his life to ‘preaching the gospel’

A woman has told the North’s Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry that while in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth   as a child she was raped by two priests, sexually abused by two nuns and  forced to eat her own vomit.

Woman alleges rape by priests and nuns forcing her to eat her own vomit

The newly elected moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland Reverend Ian McNie said the church would have his full support if it elects a woman moderator within the next few years. Photograph: PA

New Presbyterian moderator says broadcaster’s comments about God were sorrowful

Rev Ian McNie: Next Presbyterian moderator

Ballymoney-based minister elected by 12 out of 19 presbyteries

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell: the party has altered its stance on the NCA following concessions gained after “hard negotiation”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Party says it has won concessions to make NCA accountable to PSNI and Policing Board

First Minister Peter Robinson was joined by several senior party colleagues in the art deco Strand cinema including some DUP Westminster candidates such as Nigel Dodds and Gregory Campbell for the launch of the party’s election billboard.

The First Minister says the party is there to get the best possible deal for NI

Prison officers with some police support regained control of the dissident wing of Maghaberry prison following a protest at the Co Antrim prison.

Some 40 republicans serving sentences or on remand in high security prison

The Committee on the Administration of Justice report has found that there is evidence of a “common purpose” between the British state and its security agencies to prevent the truth emerging about state killings. Photograph: The Irish Times

Report highlights shortcomings in dealing with fatalities since Belfast Agreement signed

Robert Hamill:   fatally assaulted in a loyalist attack in Portadown, Co Armagh in April 1997.

British Ministry of Justice confirms two discs have gone missing in the post

The body of a man, believed to be a member of the Belfast Chinese community, was found on Botanic Avenue on Thursday morning. Photograph: PA

Victim believed to have suffered sustained knife attack on Botanic Avenue

 Former chief medical officer of England, Sir Liam Donaldson (right) with the  North’s Health Minister Jim Wells.       Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Review cites a 2011 finding that four rather than 10 acute hospitals should be sufficient

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly: An Armagh court heard that in 2008 the so-called “on the run” letter was passed from the government to the Sinn Féin Assembly member who then passed it to the individual who has been identified as a suspect in the 2003 killing of Co Armagh man Gareth O’Connor. Photograph: PA

MLA Gerry Kelly’s role in affair sure to cause great distress to Gareth O’Connor’s family

 Sinn Féin politician Gerry Kelly has insisted he had no knowledge a republican who received an “on the run” letter from him was a murder  suspect. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

PSNI apologises for allowing on-the-run letter for man suspected of Gareth O’Connor murder

The witness  said children were washed in cold water and Jeyes fluid, and that carbolic soap was also used. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images.

Nuns, described as ‘sadistic’, deny claims of physical abuse at Nazareth Lodge in Belfast

Martin McGuinness: “I have absolutely no doubt that Scotland is now on that inevitable trajectory to freedom. The challenge to us is to put our own struggle onto the same trajectory”

Deputy First Minister says elections offer chance to make Irish unity inevitable

Statue of Manannán mac Lir on Binevenagh mountain was scuplted by John Darren Sutton, who worked on “Game of Thrones”.

Suspected that cross was left at site saying ‘you shall bear no other gods before me’

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband visits Northern Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Gerry Adams insists Sinn Féin will not end its Westminster abstentionist policy

Britain’s Labour party leader Ed Miliband (centre) meets with Irish Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) and Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Peter Robinson (right) at Stormont Castle in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Getty

Says Labour if elected ‘won’t have lots of money to spend, we face difficult times’

British Labour leader Ed Miliband: “What I promise if there is a Labour government, and indeed in advance of the general election, is a Labour Party that will work with the business community, that will work with civil society, that will work with the people of Northern Ireland in the challenges that we face.” Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

British Labour leader pledges to aid transfer of tax-setting powers to Northern Executive

Quinn Business Retention Company chief says incident triggered by electrical fault

Bonnys Caravan Park in  Newcastle, Co Down. Photograph: Google Street View

Victims understood to have been killed by carbon monoxide leak

Four searches, the most recent in September 2013, have been carried out in Bragan Bog, Co Monaghan, since 1999, but Columba McVeigh’s remains have yet to be found.

Bishop of Clogher urges a search of conscience to help end suffering of McVeigh family

The work-to-rule has left thousands of homes in Northern Ireland without water in the past week.

Industrial action over pension reforms plans sees some 1,250 homes still without water

Northern Ireland’s Minister of Finance Simon Hamilton:  “No budget would have meant no Stormont.” Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire.

Analysis: Budget all but agreed as hard reality bites and opposition eases

Northern Ireland DUP finance minister Simon Hamilton has warned continuing cutbacks in financial allocations from Westminster will create major financial challenges for the Executive. Photograph: PA

Simon Hamilton says Stormont House Agreement allows ‘fresh start for politics’

John McCartin and Seán Quinn serve drinks to employees as Quinn returns to the headquarters of his former company on the Cavan-Fermanagh border. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

The entrepreneur is back in business and has even got himself a job in his old group

Rev Ian Paisley arriving at Stormont in August of 1969 to protest against the disarming of the Special Constabulary. Photograph: Jimmy McCormac

Ian Paisley came to accept Catholics had suffered unionist discrimination

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said after an “informed discussion” the party agreed to endorse the Stormont House Agreement. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Lack of unionist leadership during failed talks last year, says Richard Haass

The PSNI described the attack on the late Matthew Goddard as sustained and brutal and said he had not been  known to them.

PSNI says drugs link possible in relation to Belfast killing of Matthew Goddard (41)

Theresa Villiers: agreement “
offers us a new start, and a far more hopeful future
”. Photograph: PA

Agreement hailed as ‘monumental step forward’ by DUP leader Peter Robinson

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan after the agreement had been concluded. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

Collapse of institutions averted following pact between governments and parties

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers at Stormont: agreement ‘offers us a new start, and a far more hopeful future.’ Photograph: PA Wire

Parties conclude Stormont House Agreement after 26 hours of continuous talks

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