Robin Swann, Minister for Health, told the Stormont Assembly on Friday  that the North’s hospitals had consistently been operating above capacity during the summer and autumn, with many patients on trollies awaiting admission. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Minister warns of overstretched hospital capacity and coming ‘unscheduled pressures’

President of the Irish Council of Churches Dr Ivan Patterson (left) and General Assembly Moderator Rev David Bruce during a service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

President’s decision not to attend ‘a chapter in history that has been written and we’ve moved on’

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnsonchat with the clergy following a service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland at Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Event goes ahead without heads of state of either Ireland or United Kingdom

 Deputy first minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth as former       first minister Peter Robinson   looks on in Belfast in 2012.  Photograph: Paul Faith/Getty

Peacebuilding activist urges participants to move on from Higgins controversy

Controversial service marking partition to go ahead without two heads of state

President Michael D Higgins with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle during the President’s state visit to Britain in 2014. File photograph: Alan Betson

Armagh church service to proceed without British and Irish heads of state


Simon Coveney and Jack Chambers to represent Government at Thursday's event

PSNI says it has arrested a man nearby on suspicion of murder

Archie McConville was the last to see his mother alive. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Son of Jean McConville, who was murdered by the IRA in 1972, died aged 65 last week

‘I was a bit afraid at one point that this was going to move into a kind of celebration of the foundation of Northern Ireland and not much else,’ Archbishop Eamon Martin said. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Eamon Martin says issues were taken on board by other church leaders

Glynn said shifting trends  having an impact on the health service with hospital admissions rising to between 40 and 50 a day on average. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘We are seeing increased incidences across most age groups,’ says deputy CMO

Floral tributes  near the scene of the fatal stabbing incident in which Conservative British MP Sir David Amess was killed on Friday. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty

Conservative Party MP for Southend West attacked by man while meeting constituents

Britain’s Minister of State for EU Relations David Frost, pictured at the recent Conservative Party Conference, will travel to Brussels on Friday for further talks on the Northern Ireland protocol. Photograph: Paul Ellis / AFP via Getty Images

UK government says more work needed ‘to see if the gaps can be bridged’ after EU move

British government wants ‘intensive talks’ to follow the EU’s proposals. Photograph:  Rob Pinney/Getty

DUP leader says EU proposals on protocol ‘fall short of what is needed’

Concerns over the escalating number of Covid-19 infections, and consequent risks to the health system, have cast doubt on plans to remove almost all restrictions in just over a week’s time.

Continued doubt over next phase of reopening on October 22nd due to high case numbers

‘By the time UUP leader Doug Beattie arrived on stage, the party faithful – reduced to a socially distanced 330 due to Covid-19 – was well primed for the customary standing ovation.’ Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Doug Beattie’s liberal, inclusive brand of unionism makes for a viable, stable alternative

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, speaking party’s conference in Belfast on Saturday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Party leader tells conference mandatory coalition ‘no longer delivers good government’

The Tánaiste says he cannot confirm what will or won’t not be included in the budget at this stage as ‘there are still some decisions being made’. Photograph: iStock

Childcare costs a ‘top priority’ as Ministers work to finalise budget details

Veteran civil rights activists  at the Duke Street roundabout in Derry. From left, Eamonn McCann, Bernadette McAliskey and Dermie McClenaghan. Photograph: Trevor McBride

The civil rights march of 1968 is seen as one of the starting points of the Troubles

Taoiseach Micheál Martin (right) with the North’s First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill at a climate conference at the SSE Arena Belfast. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

Taoiseach tells environmental conference ‘climate and biodiversity recognises no border’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin talks to the media at the Grand Central Hotel during a day-long visit to Belfast. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

DUP leader says Government has ‘stepped up’ but he still regrets President’s decision not to go

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said his party’s decision to attend the church service scheduled for the 21st of this month is about his party’s decision to attend was ‘about stretching ourselves to heal the wounds of partition’. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Other main parties in North have confirmed their leaders will attend

Noel Noone and Joan Faulkner with their children, Shaun (17), Aoife (15) and Eimear (9),  outside their mica-affected home in Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal.  Photograph:  Joe Dunne

Donegal family, whose house must be demolished, ready for second Dublin protest

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said it is ready to investigate allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries. Photograph: EPA

Comments from force follow report recommending a public inquiry into homes, laundries and workhouses

The North’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Ian Young, said the newly-published data demonstrated that: ‘Getting your jab dramatically alters the odds in your favour, in terms of being protected against hospitalisation and death’. File photograph: Frank Augstein/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Dept of Health data shows those over 50 who have not had jab facing far greater risks

Survivors Mechelle Dillon (left) and Adele Johnstone after release of the Truth Recovery Design Panel report into mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland, at the Stormont hotel on Tuesday in Belfast. Photograph: Getty

Truth recovery group also advises inclusion of Magdalene laundries, workhouses in inquiry

 Dr David Bruce addressing the  General Assembly   in Belfast. He was formally re-elected as Moderator during the service, the first time since 1894 that a Moderator has served a second term.  .

Dr Bruce says church understands ‘the sensitivities surrounding these anniversaries’

There are 333 people in hospital with Covid-19 in the State, and 338 with the virus in hospital in the North. Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Incidence of disease among children now lower than it was prior to schools reopening

Pictured at the National Development Plan 2021-2030 launch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar;  Taoiseach Micheál Martin; Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

Eamon Ryan: Not all National Development Plan projects will ‘necessarily’ go ahead

 Loyalist graffiti in the Shankill area  of Belfast which reflects  unionist discontent with  the so-called “Irish sea border”. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Traditional Unionist Voice seizes on Northern Ireland protocol to put DUP on defensive

The EU’s digital Covid certificate has helped ensure the safe reopening of Irish society, the Minister for Health has said. File photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Those vaccinated outside EU will also be able to apply, provided vaccine is authorised here

‘Unionism stands united in opposing the protocol’Jeffrey Donaldson said. Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

Declaration by DUP, UUP, TUV and PUP intended to emphasise unity over protocol

Stormont ministers decided to remove the one-metre distance requirement for the retail sector, indoor attractions and seated indoor venues. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Social distancing requirement to end in Northern Ireland’s shops and theatres

Everyone aged 18 or over in Northern Ireland is eligible to apply for a pre-paid card which will give them £100 to spend in shops, hospitality and other services by November 30th. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Stormont ministers agree to end social distancing rules in shop and theatres

 Jeffrey Donaldson: ‘I don’t see it as mutually exclusive to be Irish and British, or Northern Irish and British.’ Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Interview: the DUP leader on powersharing, Brexit and being British and Irish

  David Lester with his daughter Lily at the   Balmoral Show on Wednesday. Pedigree breeders have been virtually ‘wiped out’ by Brexit, he says. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

At North’s largest agricultural show, ‘everyone is your brother or your friend’

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said: ‘Covid-19 vaccines are providing very effective protection from severe illness and have fundamentally changed the risk profile of Covid-19 in Ireland’. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

North’s health service will ‘topple over’ without action, says O’Neill

A helicopter flying over an Army watchtower in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh. Photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

Brendan Hughes says he is in favour of a truth forum to address legacy issues

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic: He said the EU  aims to have all outstanding issues related to the North’s post-Brexit arrangements resolved by the end of the year. Photograph: John Thys/EPA

DUP leader asks Nancy Pelosi to reflect on ‘damage’ post-Brexit measure is causing to the North

A total of 379 people are receiving hospital treatment in the North, with 33 in intensive care. File photograph: PA

North’s Department of Heath reports five more deaths and 1,020 further infections

Pope Francis and President Michael D Higgins   in Rome: The Government is expected to send a Minister as a delegate to the Armagh church service marking a centenary of partition and creation of Northern Ireland. Photograph:  Maxwells/Vatican

President said title of service marking partition was not a ‘neutral statement politically’

The invitation sent to Michael D Higgins said the service next month would be ‘of Christian worship hosted, organised and led by the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and the Irish Council of Churches’. Photograph:  Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty

Attendance of Higgins at event would have been ‘very special’ – Archbishop Martin

President Michael D Higgins at the Quirinal Palace in Rome this week. Photograph: Maxwells/PA Wire

John Bruton says Michael D Higgins should reverse decision to decline invite to event queen attending

President Michael D Higgins at the graves of Italian philosopher and writer Antonio Gramsci and English poet John Keats in Rome. Photograph: Maxwells

President rejects suggestion he is snubbing the queen and hits back at DUP criticism

President Michael D Higgins:  The SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood, said people should “take him at his word when he says he can’t be there”.  Photograph:  Maxwells/PA

Taoiseach’s office rejects Donaldson suggestion about diary as ‘matter for the President’

President Michael D Higgins at the Quirinal Palace in Rome as part of his four-day visit to the Italian capital. Photograph: Maxwells/PA Wire

Donaldson says many may reach conclusion decision not to attend is based on politics

The DUP has questioned whether President Michael D Higgins is ‘snubbing’ events marking Northern Ireland’s centenary. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Peter Weir writes to Michael D Higgins over decision not to attend church service

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was one of ten civilians killed by soldiers in west Belfast in 1971 with her sisters Joan, Philomena and Irene, voice their distress after learning tissue samples from their mother were retained without their knowledge or consent. Photograph: PA

Families of civilians killed by the British Army in Ballymurphy learn human tissue samples retained without consent

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood: ‘The Democratic Unionist Party has been hit by a bad opinion poll so it is threatening to bring down the very institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.’ Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Bill currently before Commons will extend period to replace First or Deputy First Minister

New arrangements for bringing pets and assistance dogs to Northern Ireland from Great Britain came into force on January 1st but have not been implemented.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Grace period extended while negotiations continue between UK and EU on protocol

The PSNI appealed to parents and guardians to speak to their children. File photograph: PA

PSNI will ‘robustly address any criminal activity’ in Holyland locality, warns police chief

Minister for Health in Northern Ireland, Robin Swann, said the move would “help protect young people from catching Covid-19 and is expected to prevent disruption in schools by reducing transmission’.

Seven more Covid-19 deaths and 1,590 additional cases reported in Northern Ireland

First Minister Paul Givan: he said  there was now a ‘window of opportunity’ for the UK and the EU ‘to make sure that the changes that need to be made are made’.  Photograph: Getty Images

Campaigners protesting outside Stormont say legislation on climate change should not become a victim of political instability

Tiernan Feeney (19), a first year Computer Science student at Queen’s University Belfast, receives the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination during a campus vaccine initiative.  Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

CMOs in four devolved nations of the UK say children in age group should be vaccinated

A soldier inspecting the aftermath of an explosion at the Europa Hotel, Belfast, April 1972. Photographer: Ciaran Donnelly

The hotel, targeted an estimated 33 times, is as much an icon of the city as the Titanic

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson on his way into Government buildings during his recent visit to Dublin. Photograph Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Party leader expected to warn of ‘consequences’ if concessions not made

Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Pádraig Delargy and Ciara Ferguson to replace Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan

There was also a call for the Northern Executive to develop a strategy for Travellers, described as ‘not a priority’ for government.  Photograph: Eric Luke

‘It’s just a green and orange issue, there’s no concept of good relations with ethnic minorities’

Border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan have by far the highest rates of the disease in the Republic, according to the latest figures. File photograph: The Irish Times

HSE suspends walk-ins at coronavirus test centres as demand soars in last 48 hours

The main entrance to Castlederg Barracks, which housed the former Castlederg PSNI station. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Decision relates to Castlederg, Aughnacloy stations in Tyrone and Warrenpoint in Down

A further 1,748 people tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland. File photograph: iStock

North’s Department of Health reports seven more deaths and 1,748 additional infections

 A mural in  Derry, Northern Ireland. File photograph: iStock

UK move would ‘fundamentally undermine the rule of law’, QUB and CAJ report says

The children of Pat and John Hume at their mother’s funeral. From left, John jnr, Mo, Therese, Aidan and Áine. Photograph: Liam McBurney/ PA

Aidan Hume says his mother was the ‘calm at the centre of chaotic times’

John and Pat Hume, who died at home on Thursday after a short illness. Photograph: Frank Miller

Requiem Mass to be celebrated at 11am at St Eugene’s Cathedral where her husband’s funeral was held just over a year ago

A mural of Annette McGavigan in the Bogside area of Derry, where an event to remember her is due to take place on Monday. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Annette McGavigan (14) was wearing school uniform when shot dead by British army

Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh (second from the left), with Dermie McClenaghan, Michael Canavan, Ivan Cooper,Terry Doherty and Aidan McKinney, recreating a photo from the civil rights movement on the Craigavon Bridge in 2018. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Ó Dochartaigh was one of the organisers of the 1968 march on Duke Street

HSE’s head of trace and test says ‘the advice from public health has remained the same and all the measures are in place within the schools’ to limit the spread of the virus. Photograph: iStock

362 Covid-19 patients are in hospital on Sunday - 59 in ICU

Kevin Devlin stands on the pitch at St Enda’s GAA club in Glengormley which is named after his brother Gerry, who was killed by a loyalist gunman at the club in 1997. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

‘We’re remembering everyone equally – their politics, or who killed them, is irrelevant’

The good Margaret Loughrey did should be remembered, said a local councillor and friend

Euromillions winner gave money to family, friends, charities and many organisations

John Hume and Pat Hume are pictured at a press conference in 1998. Warm tributes have been paid to Mrs Hume who died on Thursday in Derry. Photograph: Trevor McBride

‘Pat was absolutely everything everyone has said and much, much more’ – former mayor

John and Pat Hume in Dublin in 2009. Photograph: Frank Miller /	The Irish Times

Wife of SDLP co-founder and Nobel Laureate John Hume dies ‘surrounded by family’ in Derry

Muhammad Edrees Kharotai, who lives in Derry,  said his 19-year-old sister, Sama, has been abducted and he has appealed to the British government to help all of the female members of his family leave Afghanistan.

Muhammad Edrees Kharotai has appealed for help for female family members

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said he wanted to ‘calm some of the rhetoric’  around Policing Board proposals. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Simon Byrne says wording in cross-Border policing report was ‘misunderstood’

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne did not make any public comment following sharp criticism on Wednesday . File photograph: PA

Simon Byrne facing into political storm in wake of policing review in south Armagh

PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne in Newry on Tuesday after briefing members of the south Armagh community on the details of the report on policing in the area. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

‘Bandit country’ tag persists but cross-Border organised crime poses greatest challenge

Fifty recommendations for the PSNI were detailed in a 170-page report published on Tuesday, which was produced following a review of policing in south Armagh. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Further policing reforms in south Armagh recommended as ‘trust’ issues identified

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland as enquiries continue. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Boy died in hospital after crash in Kircubbin on Monday evening, police say

Raymond McCord (centre)  outside Belfast City Hall after a meeting of victims of the Troubles with local political parties and from the Republic  over their opposition to British government plans to end all Troubles-related prosecutions. Photograph: PA Photo

‘Investigations, prosecutions, inquests and civil actions cannot be abolished, and due process must take place’

Chief medical officer  Dr Tony Holohan said ‘data clearly shows that, to date, the school environment was not a major source of disease transmission’ but settings outside of school had been linked to transmission and outbreaks.    Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Holohan urges ‘caution’ on after-school activities as reopening of society gathers pace

Sinn Féin leader Mary-Lou McDonald talking to the media while on a visit to Derry on Thursday. Photograph: Sinn Féin/PA Wire

DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson to meet Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Dublin on Friday

One of Samantha Willis’s daughters, Lilyanna, is carried into St Columb’s church, Derry, behind the coffin for the funeral of the mother of four from Strathfoyle who died with Covid-19 on Friday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Samantha Willis’s daughter Eviegrace baptised at her mother’s funeral

Brian O’Doherty has been at the Art House in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal for 10 years, but his landlord is now selling up. Photograph: Joe Dunne

‘There are an awful lot of people looking to move to Dunfanaghy. It’s a cool place to be now’

In the North  only 66% of those aged between 18 and 29 having  received their first jab.   Photograph: Getty Images

Stormont Health Committee told the number of Covid-19 deaths will not reach a peak for ‘a couple of weeks’

Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill outside Parliament Buildings, Belfast, on Thursday. File photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Names of 9 soldiers from North killed during British army’s deployment named in House of Commons

On Tuesday 392 patients were receiving hospital treatment for coronavirus in the North, with 47 in intensive care. File photograph: PA

Almost 250 patients in country’s hospitals with 54 of those in ICU

Houses in Portrush. The average house price in Northern Ireland rose by almost 10 per cent in the second quarter compared with the same time last year, according to Ulster University

Market records highest number of transactions since 2005

Under the Northern Ireland protocol, trade in goods with Britain is subject to customs checks. File photograph: The Irish Times

Goods moving between Northern Ireland and Republic not subject to customs checks

UUP leader Doug Beattie, a former captain with the British army’s Royal Irish Regiment, says the people of Afghanistan have been ‘let down’ by the international community. Photograph: Doug Beattie

Doug Beattie served three tours of duty in Helmand province with the British army

There are 110 to 120 outbreaks recorded per week, with the majority from social gatherings and workplaces. Photograph: Alan Betson

Republic has second highest rate of full Covid vaccination in EU, according to ECDC

Scorched ground on Meenan Square in the Bogside area of Derry City after the burning of a bonfire with banners making threats towards police officers and a member of the public. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Name of Constable Ronan Kerr, murdered in 2011, clearly visible on pyre in the Bogside

Fifty years ago, David Breslin and other members of the deaf community marched to the British embassy in Dublin in disgust at Eamon McDevitt’s killing by the British army. Photograph: David Breslin

‘I would like the British government to apologise and to forget about this amnesty’

A total of 359 people were receiving hospital treatment for the virus in the North on Friday, with 44 in intensive care. Photograph: iStock

‘Sizeable proportion’ of patients in hospital with virus unvaccinated, health board says

Some residents of the Republic of Ireland who were vaccinated in the North said they had so far been unable to get a certificate. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Discussions aim to ‘scope an agreed solution’ as Northern Ireland relaxes some restrictions

Half of all A level entries in Northern Ireland in 2021 were graded at A or above. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Figures demonstrate ‘remarkable resilience’ amid disrupted learning, council says

 Dr Ronan Glynn said vaccination, combined with basic public health measures, is the most effective way to protect the community against Covid-19. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

More than 6m vaccine doses administered to date, with 78% of adults fully vaccinated

The crowd of 5,000 attendees at Custom House Square in Belfast for the Tom Jones concert. Photograph supplied by organisers

With live concert restrictions lifted in North, punters gather at outdoor gig

The percentage of students receiving either an A or A* grade increased  7.5 percentage points to 50.8%. Photograph: iStock

Students receive their results after exams were cancelled due to Covid-19

Belfast student Luke Patterson is delighted with his A Level results. Photograph: Stephen Davison, Pacemaker

Luke Patterson found stress of learning at home ‘simply unbelievable’

Professor Ian Young said that more than 100 people under 60 were receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19, and 80 per cent of them have not been vaccinated File photograph: Alan Betson

Northern Ireland reports two further deaths, 1,305 new cases of Covid-19

Ornaments and teddy bears as well as sympathy messages, flowers and cards have been left outside the home where the child  was discovered seriously injured. Photograph:  Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Further 24 hours granted as man (32) arrested on suspicion of murder in Co Tyrone

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