The report into the on the runs controversy which had threatened the future of the Northern Executive is to be published on July 17th, the Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers has announced. Photograph:  Aaron McCracken/Harrisons/PA Wire.

The report into the on the runs controversy which had threatened the future of the Northern Executive is to be published on July 17th, the Northern Se(...)

The queen visits the Game of Thrones television set in Belfast’s Titanic quarter watched by cast members Lena Headly, who plays Queen Cersei Lannister, and Conleith Hill, who plays Lord Vary. Photograp: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Old lags, oh the stories they can tell. The visit of Queen Elizabeth generated something of a feel-good factor in Belfast yesterday. There was a goo(...)

‘The world doesn’t seem to understand that there really are people who are content to live alone.’ Ann Widdecombe in Belfast last week. Photograph: Mark Marlow/Pacemaker

At 8am in a Belfast hotel, Ann Widdecombe, who the night before was participating in the Belfast Book Festival, is already looking bright and breez(...)

 Peter Hain: said letters to on the runs  were a crucial part of the jigsaw that led Sinn Féin to support policing in 2007. File Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain was told in 2006 John Downey was wanted for the 1982 Hyde Park bombing — even though the Donegal(...)

The Republic will be the focus of massive attention to see whether it comes up with a workable formulation of this latest anti-smoking measure: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Despite yesterday’s landmark Cabinet decision, it is likely to be some years before plain packaging on tobacco products becomes a reality.Aside from t(...)

First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter  Robinson has  expressed “suspicion” that senior republicans such as Gerry Adams and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness received official British guarantees that they would never face prosecution for alleged involvement in actions such as the killings of Jean McConville and Frank Hegarty. Photograph: Will Oliver/PA Wire

The comfort letters issued to the so-called republican on-the-runs (OTR) must be declared “null and void” so that pledges of non-prosecution should ha(...)

When Archbishop Thomas Cranmer wrote back in the 1500s that “We suppose that Antichrist, the head of all these evil men, is the pope of Rome” he could(...)

About a quarter of the 462 local council seats were declared after the first day’s counting. Photograph: Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Sinn Féin and the DUP are on course to maintain their respective positions as lead parties of nationalism and unionism in Northern Ireland. How(...)

The late Hugh Smyth was a former Progressive Unionist Party leader and a one-time lord mayor of Belfast.

Hugh Smyth, who has died aged 75, was a former Progressive Unionist Party leader and a one-time lord mayor of Belfast. Titles aside, he was perhaps be(...)

 It’s a tough task for the SDLP’s Alex Attwood, but if he manages to get ahead of Jim Nicholson in the early counts there is a possibility he could stay there. Photograph:  Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

If the three Northern Ireland MEPs aren’t all returned to Europe people will be surprised, but not shocked. There is an outside prospect of an upset i(...)