11/01/2017 BBC Newsline

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This is BBC Newsline with Tara Mills.


Prime Minister Theresa May calls on all parties to work as hard


The progress that has been made in Northern Ireland has been hard won


and we must all recognise that we don't want to but that progress in


jeopardy. But already Sinn Fein say


it's too late for talks. What needs to happen next is an


election. We are not interested in trying to get into negotiations.


What we need is fundamental change. An RHI cost saving plan has been


finalised, but will the finance The school caretaker who's admitted


having thousands of pictures Plans for a woodland burial site in


the County Down countryside. Rory McIlroy wants to be


golf's world number one And with warnings in force for wind


and snow, we can expect some disruption. I will have the forecast


later in the programme. It's been a day of talks at Stormont


as the Westminster government tries But the Secretary of


State James Brokenshire has conceded an election now looks highly likely


after Sinn Fein said they weren't interested in any more negotiations


in advance of a poll. From Stormont here's our political


correspondent, Gareth Gordon. This is the man whose job looks less


like Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and more like ocean


impossible. I do see the situation here as being grave. I think an


election is likely to be divisive and the issues of bringing parties


together again at the end of that election but I am also very clear on


the responsibilities that I hold and that if there is no reappointment by


the start of next week, it is incumbent upon me to call an


election within a reasonable period of time and that is what I will do.


And after that... If an election does not lead to an executive being


formed within a relatively short period of time, around a week that


follows on from that election for the assembly to meet, another two


weeks to form an executive within that time period, the potential


option at that stage would be another election. Never mind a


second election. They first one would not be James Brokenshire 's


first option but it may be his only one after hearing what Sinn Fein had


to say to him this morning. We made it clear to him in terms of what we


believe needs to happen and what needs to happen next is an election.


We're not interested in trying to get into negotiations now. What we


need is fundamental change. The public need to have their say. This


has now gone beyond just Stormont. Last night, the Prime Minister


spoke. The progress that has been made in Northern Ireland has been


hard-won. And we must all recognise that we don't want to put that


progress in jeopardy. That is why I think it is so important for the


government and for all parties to work as hard as we can to see a


resolution to this issue so we can see a return to the power-sharing


institutions and ensure as we say that the progress that has been


hard-won can be continued. And if that cannot happen... We need to see


at that point joint authority in Northern Ireland, the Dublin


government having a key role in the future of this place. The Secretary


of State said speculation that type was unhelpful. The tensions were all


too obvious at a meeting of Stormont 's Public Accounts Committee this


afternoon. This whole place is falling to pieces... There is no


First Minister. I have done it before and I will do it again,


enough. It is a year to the day since Arlene Foster was sworn in as


First Minister. I am tired of Stormont being a watchword for


arguing and that is not why our people elected us. They did so to


produce a better future for us all. Now she is fighting for a better


future and after that who knows? The DUP Economy Minister Simon


Hamilton has sent a fresh plan to the Finance Minister Mairtin


O'Mulleoir aimed at sorting out the costs associated with


the renewable heat incentive scheme. Our Business Correspondent,


Julian O'Neill, is at Stormont. Julian, what do we know


about the details of this plan? My understanding is that the plan


which is now being formally submitted to the Department of


Finance was essentially the same proposals that Simon Hamilton and


Mairtin O'Mulleoir discussed last week. Although it has now been


formalised, finalised and presented to Mairtin O'Mulleoir as a business


case seeking his approval. It is a solution to the massive overspend in


two parts. Stage one would be the amendment of the higher tariffs


enjoyed by about 1800 recipients, that those who were on this scheme


before November 20 15. Alongside that, there would be a consultation


on a longer term fix. It could be that that longer term fix sticks


with the initial reduction of tariffs for a year over that longer


period of the entire scheme. I am told that it is instructed in this


2-stage way on the basis of legal advice, although the Department for


the economy still fully anticipates that if this plan gets off the


ground, it could well still face a legal challenge. Any idea of the


time frame? We know that it landed in the entry of the Finance Minister


this afternoon and he has been on the airwaves saying that it will be


assessed by his officials and he will make a decision free from


politics. I suppose it all comes down to timing. Mr Hamilton would


like this sorted at the assembly on Monday, get this dealt with as soon


as possible. It then begs the question, when can a decision be


made by Mairtin O'Mulleoir for his approval? And if it is a positive


decision, when could it get to the assembly for a vote and would it get


to the assembly while it is still in session if there is to be an


election? You are also hearing there might be some sort of delay to the


rates bills. This issue was raised earlier on today because of course


we don't have a Stormont budget and part of that Stormont budget


involves the regional rates, part of our rates bills. Now, I did get a


statement just before I came on air from the Department of Finance and


it does confirm that there could very well be a delay to the rates


bills which are normally issued to all of us in April. The statement


says the minister met today with officials to look at a number of


options in relation to the rates bills and is actively exploring ways


to avoid any losses to the public purse. Rates bills will still fall


due for the coming year, whatever the outcome of the current political


difficulties. There may be a delay in us getting the bills but we will


still have two ultimately pay them. Up to 30,000 households may have


to pay the so-called bedroom tax from next month as a result


of the political crisis. The Executive had agreed a policy


which meant that, in effect, However the legislation


which would allow that policy to take effect has not been


passed by Stormont. But Sinn Fein insists


the Communities Minister still has the power to make payments


to mitigate the tax. Here's our Economics


and Business Editor, John Campbell. It is the tenants of social housing


schemes like these who are in line to lose out. The so-called bedroom


tax is a regulation which cuts housing benefit for tenants deemed


to have too much living space. It has been implemented elsewhere in


the UK. But the local welfare reform deal meant it was not supposed to


apply here. But that arrangement needs legislation, legislation which


has not been passed and with the crisis is now unlikely to be. As it


stands, the 20th of February, bedroom tax is being introduced into


Northern Ireland. We needed a parallel scheme to be in place and


that requires a regulation to be put through in order to compensate the


individuals impacted by this. 34,000 people will now not have that


compensation. There is no way to provide the support that we all


wanted to provide. My party was opposed to the bedroom tax. And now


those people are going to suffer. The housing right service says the


average loss for hard-pressed households will be ?20 per week.


People are under very, very tight budgets at the minute. We -- it is a


huge reason why people contact our advice line. Anything which could


further weaken people's position and their ability to stay in their homes


is of huge concern to us. Could the housing associations help by


temporarily cutting rents? It would be very difficult for associations


to absorb these costs. We are trying to build more homes as government


has asked us to do. Whilst we do want to protect tenants, we do have


to collect our rent. Sinn Fein says the answer lies with the


Conservative government. It has the power to tackle the issue in


Westminster. We are opposed to the bedroom tax. All of the parties in


this institution are opposed to the bedroom tax. It is the British


government to legislating for the bedroom tax. Late this afternoon,


the Sinn Fein Finance Minister, Mairtin O'Mulleoir, took a different


tack. His officials has told him the communities minister already has the


authority to make those payments which effectively cancel out the


bedroom tax. We are yet to hear what the Department of communities makes


of that analysis. If an election is called


soon, there will be 90 seats up for grabs, not the 108


in the current Assembly. The change was agreed


before the current crisis. So what impact will the reduction


in numbers have on the parties? BBC Newsline's Mark Simpson


has been taking a look. Winning a seat here isn't easy and


it may be about to get even harder. Let's take a look at the state of


the parties after last year 's election. 108 seats in total and the


biggest party was the DUP. They had 38 of them. Sinn Fein got 28. The


SDLP got 12. Alliance got eight and the Ulster Unionists over in the


corner had 16. If there is an election, there will not be enough


room in here for 108 MLAs. There were only be 90 seats next time.


Instead of six members per constituency, there will only be


five. The big question many people are asking is, how many seats could


each party lose? It is impossible to predict. But for what it is worth,


the election number cruncher Doctor Nicholas White dog figures from last


year, put them into a 90 seat assembly and he worked out that the


DUP could lose up to five seats. Sinn Fein could also lose up to five


seats. And so could the Ulster Unionist Party PS DLP might lose


only one seat and the Alliance party no seats at all. But of course, that


doesn't take into account a range of factors, everything that has


happened since the last election, how the campaign goes and which


candidates actually run. Henry Bell says the first challenge for all


politicians at Stormont is to make sure they get on the ballot paper.


The big names will stay because of course what will happen is that...


There has got to be a fewer number of nominations obviously. The first


thing is they will have to bring down the number of nominations. If


they don't do that, they are in trouble because you are fishing in a


much smaller pond. Clearly it is going to be a slightly different


kind of election. The earliest dated could be, wait for it, is Thursday


March two. That is not too far away but as the past two days have proved


that Stormont, nothing is certain. How this woman has been left in a


wheelchair by a hit and run driver. A primary school caretaker has been


given a three year sentence for having more than 28 thousand


indecent images of children 35-year-old Gary Carruthers


of Victoria Street in Belfast will Gary Carruthers was arrested in


September 2015 after National Crime Agency officers uncovered images and


videos stored on more than 20 devices hidden in a safe in his


bedroom. They also found what were described in court as paedophile


manuals which gave advice on how to groom children. The judge told Gary


Carruthers that the harm was all too obvious. She said downloading such


images from the Internet maintained the industry which exploits and


abuses children for the sexual gratification of adults. The court


heard Gary Carruthers abused his position of trust by superimposing


pictures of children from the school at which he worked on to images of


children being abused. The judge told him that entering guilty pleas


would normally earn substantial credit but in this case, she said


that the end -- evidence against you is overwhelming, you were


effectively caught red-handed. She said the methods set out in the


manuals and the images depicted in them were utterly shocking. He has


been put on the sex offenders register indefinitely and because of


time already served, he is now due to be released.


A woman is in a wheelchair with leg and back injuries following a a hit


The victim has just been discharged from hospital and the police say


enquiries are continuing into the crash which happened last


An afternoon drive began with a trip to the shops. It ended with these


injuries. My husband says to me, they are going to hit and then just


bang. I felt parts of my body shoot out of place. The crash happened


here on this country road on the edge of the city. There were three


cars involved than six people including a child were taken to


hospital. But three people from one of the cars ran away and the police


are still trying to find them. The impact of the crash still evident at


the scene. Debrief on the cars damaged the land bank. Back at the


family home, the impact of the injury is all too evident. I have


nuts and bolts in my legs. I have a broken back. These are the things


that you can see. But the body is all bruised and battered. Still


hurting from her injuries, she is also angry about the people who fled


the scene. Anybody who can have an accident, that is not the point but


when they saw my husband pulling out of the car and they didn't even


help, I think that's despicable. The six people injured in the crash have


all been discharged. Six homes were evacuated in west


Belfast overnight because of a fire The blaze was at this property


on the Stewartstown Road 45 fire-fighters, six pumping


appliances and an aerial appliance dealt with the incident


which was contained An investigation has started


into the cause of the fire. When the crews arrived, they were


faced with a well-developed fire. They had to work very quickly. It


was a very windy night. The wind was fanning the flames. They had to work


to contain the fire. Through their hard work, they were able to stop it


spreading to adjacent premises and private housing to the rear.


The fire service says the cause of a fire in Enniskillen


which destroyed eight boilers and a large quantity


It happened in the early hours of last Friday at a former quarry


Firefighters from Enniskillen, Irvinestown and Lisnaskea spent more


The shed, which contained 14 tonnes of woodchip was badly damaged.


Investigators returned to the scene today and said the fire


The board of governors at De La Salle College in west


Belfast has sent a letter to its 76 teachers inviting them


The board says it's because of criticism


of the recent school inspection, the acting principal and


Our Education Correspondent, Robbie Meredith, reports.


The inspection highlighted poor working relationships at the school.


This 3-page letter appears to be further evidence of that. They did


from Monday, this makes reference to a previous letter in December,


signed by 28 teachers, which the governors allege was critical of


both the Inspectorate and the vice principal and acting principal of


the school. The governor 's letter in response accuses some staff of


making totally unacceptable and potentially libellous comments about


the acting principal and vice principal. It says there is a


resistance to improvements by a small group and that criticises


those teachers with the post of responsible at Uni management


structure who signed the earlier letter for failing to see their


involvement in shaping the current situation. The letter concludes by


saying that any teacher that is not committed to addressing the issues


should carefully consider their position. The governors also right


that they do not expect to see their letter revealed in the media.


Now, do you have strong views about where you end up when you die?


Well if planners give the go ahead we may soon have a new option -


Northern Ireland's first woodland burial site.


And as our Agriculture and Environment Correspondent, Conor


Macauley, has been finding out, there'll be no headstones and no


traditional coffins, just some GPS technology to help


It's not something we tend to dwell on but what becomes of us when we


die is something that well-known artist Katherine McWilliams has


given some thought to. She is in no hurry but she'd like to end up in


what could be Northern Ireland's first woodland burial site. We


arranged to meet on the hillside where its proposed. And as someone


who has drawn on the landscape for inspiration, she tells me she is


happy to return to it in time. Lovely little graveyards that are


antique and ancient are lovely to visit, people take great pleasure in


them. Nature is already trying to recapture the earth but there aren't


any more graves like that available. You have to go to a bigger graveyard


and I don't want that. Proposed on this site outside Downpatrick is a


nature reserve. Thousands of trees and wild flowers would be planted.


Standard coffins will be allowed. If you want to be buried here, it will


have to be in a cardboard or wicker one. There will be no headstones or


graves. GPS technology will be used to identify plots so that loved ones


can be interred together. One of the key considerations was to protect


the integrity of the lake. To that end, a buffer zone of trees will be


planted along the shore to act as a natural filtration device. Planning


permission is now being sought. If approved, around 750 burials could


be accommodated here in the first phase, with more later. This kind of


thing is already popular in Britain. And its backers think it could catch


on here too. Rory McIlroy tees off tomorrow


in South Africa for his first It's the first of eight tournaments


on a globetrotting schedule as he prepares for the year's first


major, the Masters at Augusta. Mcilroy must start the season


with new equipment after his main sponsor withdrew


from golf manufacturing. But the World number 2 told


Stephen Watson in an exclusive interview in Johannesburg,


he thinks he'll make the switch easily -


and is planning an exciting 2017. New Year, new clubs, renewed focus


for Rory McIlroy. He's promising some changes this season, but one


thing remains the same, his drive and passion to win. I need to start


major is better and maybe that starts with me putting a little bit


less pressure on myself and going out and freewheeling a little bit


more and just playing my game. I have felt the last year or so


opening rounds of majors, a little bit tight and tentative, instead of


just playing my game. What would make 2017 successful for you? World


number one, green jacket,? All of those. I have a great chance to


regain the world number one spot. And then it would be getting ready


for the Masters. The hype around the Masters has been huge because I am


going for something not a lot of golfers have been able to achieve.


They are my primary focus is to start the year. The Masters is the


only one of golf 's major titles that Rory McIlroy hasn't won. As the


27-year-old starts his tenth season, as a professional. It is amazing to


think it is a decade that I have been on tour. The thing I have


learnt most is what works for me. I think whenever you are learning, you


are looking at other players and seeing what they do, instead of


focusing on yourself and focusing on what makes you do what you do best.


I feel like I know myself better. I know how I think. I know what to


think when I feel a certain way. I have a little bit more experienced


and I am a bit more in touch with who I am and how I think and who I


am as a golfer. That can only be of benefit. And do you think that the


balance of the golf course, it does that help you be successful in your


job? If I am really comfortable in myself, I am comfortable with


everything that is going on and off the golf course, then it only makes


it easier for me to go and play and know that no matter what happens on


the golf course, I can go home and be very happy outside of that. So


yes, it is a big year for me personally, I am getting married,


that is going to be the biggest thing that has ever happened to me.


Regardless of whatever happens on the golf course. This will be ten


times bigger than that. One of my New Year 's resolutions was to get a


little bit more involved in part of the decision-making process. It is


exciting with everything that is happening. 2017 is going to be a big


year for me. Ulster scrum half Ruan Pienarr


will be out until of action for four to five weeks after knee


surgery last week. The province must defeat Exeter


on Sunday to stand any chance It is an opportunity to focus


on a different competition, after the frustration of the Pro 12


defeat to the Scarlets This was the moment that turned the


pro 12 game in the Scarlets' favour. Davis tackled high and in the


opinion of the referee, a foul worthy of a yellow card and a


penalty try. That put the spotlight on the interpretation of the rules


regarding high tackling. The incident was discussed after the


game with the independent referee Commissioner. The conclusion won't


make Ulster fans happy. It was agreed by all parties that it was a


penalty try. We are not going to moan about it. We understand that


these things happen and we had to be better than those decisions and


learn from them. They looked at where the contact point was and it


was agreed. That comes from a lot of areas of the game. Experts in the


game agree with that. We have done it and we have dealt with it. We


need to move on. The Scarlets were also yellow carded for a high tackle


in the game. Our players struggling to understand what is legal and what


isn't? We have had a couple of meetings about them and things like


that but generally, there is not a lot you can do. It is not big


changes. I think it is more just referees interpretations change more


than anything and it will take a little time for referees and players


to get used to it. And while that process continues, there is likely


to be more controversy in the weeks ahead.


It is good to be very cold. We have had some reports of snow. This was a


short time ago. These are scenes we could see over the next two days.


The Met office has issued a weather warning right through until Friday.


You will want to wrap up warm. Over the coming day or so, we are


expecting snow. Mainly for the high ground. But even for some low level


areas, we will see some snow. As we all know in this part of the world,


even a small amount of snow is enough to cause some disruption.


Through tonight, the temperatures will quickly fall to freezing and


below. Showers turning wintry as we make our way into tomorrow. There


may be some problems on the road listing. As tomorrow itself, staying


bitterly cold. We hold onto a strong north westerly wind which will be


driving wintry showers our way from the beginning of the day. In between


the showers, there will be some sunshine. That won't really help in


terms of temperatures. At best tomorrow afternoon, three degrees.


Factor in those winds and the wintry showers, it is going to feel much


more like it is below freezing. As we make our way through the


afternoon, across the island, if you are travelling, most of the wintry


showers will be across Ulster and into Munster. One thing for sure, no


matter where you are, it is going to feel bitterly cold with those chilly


Arctic winds. Tomorrow night, they begin to change direction and start


to come in from the north, driving in yet more snow showers as we make


our way overnight into Friday. Even for low level areas, temperatures


will fall and on Friday morning, we have the hazards of ice and some


snow out there. Potentially for rush hour on Friday morning, treacherous


driving conditions to bear in mind. Fewer showers in the forecast on


Friday. Still feeling quite chilly. But we will lose those warnings come


the weekend as temperatures edged their way back to double figures.


The communities minister has responded to the suggestion from the


Department of Finance that existing legislation would allow him to pay


compensation for the so-called bedroom tax. Responding on Twitter,


the minister says he is engaged with his officials and it is in his words


regrettably not a way forward and that he continues to explore


emergency options. You can also keep in contact with us


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