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This is BBC Newsline with Tara Mills.
The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is criticised after a major
Expressing condolences, I am sure of the whole House to the family of the
police officer who lost his life over the weekend in Northern
Ireland. The unease in one Stormont
department over a controversial aid The second in our series
on whether former soldiers should be put in the dock
for Troubles related killings. It is a New Year and the start of
new challenges for so many people who started part-time and night-time
courses, joining the at this campus of Belfast Metropolitan College.
And tomorrow looks like a day for the big coat as temperatures
take a tumble and a cold wind digs in.
First, there's gridlock across Belfast this evening
after a crash closed the Westlink out of the city.
Our reporter Maggie Taggart is live on the Grosvenor Road
I am just on a slip road which links the Grosvenor Road with the motorway
and the Westlink is complete gridlock era. As usual, one single
Rd traffic collision has caused this mayhem over the city centre. People
are having difficulty getting along the road and having difficulty
getting out of the car parks for the commute home. People are being told
not to even bother trying to getting out of the city, if they can
possibly delay it. Thank you. Our reporter Kelly
Bonner has the latest. Yes, I am at the Europa Bus Centre
and there are long delays here. We are standing outside and as you can
see behind, many people are queueing to try and get home tonight on the
bus. Translink have tonight tweeted their bus services are badly
affected due to that crashed on the Westlink. We have been here for
about half an hour and had seen a number of buses coming in and out of
the city centre tonight. A person told me tonight he has waited up to
two hours very bus home and he will be waiting a long time yet. -- for a
bass. The Labour Party says its leader
made a genuine mistake after he incorrectly told the House
of Commons that the police officer wounded in a gun attack in Belfast
last Sunday night had Jeremy Corbyn was speaking
during Prime Minister's Questions. The party said no
offence was intended. As Stephen Walker reports,
the Labour leader has Order, questions to the Prime
Minister! Traditionally at the beginning
of Prime Minister's Questions, there are often references
to members of the armed services and police officers who have
been killed or injured Today, Theresa May mentioned
the PSNI officer injured I am also sure that the whole House
will join me in sending our thoughts to the police officer who was shot
in Belfast over the weekend and his friends and family.
When he got to his feet, Jeremy Corbyn also spoke
about the weekend shooting, but he said the officer involved had
I join the Prime Minister in condolences and expressing
condolences, I am sure of the House to the family of the police officer
who lost his life over the weekend in Northern Ireland.
The shooting happened in the constituency of Nigel Dodds
and the DUP MP wanted to put on record his thoughts.
I join the Prime Minister in wishing a speedy recovery to the police
officer who was shot and injured in my constituency in north Belfast on
Sunday night. Thankfully he was not killed. That was not the intention
of the terrorists, of course. And there was a call
for Jeremy Corbyn's For the family and for police
officers generally, could we have that corrected by the front bench
spokesman as urgently as possible? So the record of this House does not
contain the serious fact that a police officer was murdered.
The Speaker said a further statement from Jeremy Corbyn
He said a mistake had been made. I recognise what the honourable
gentleman said and how upsetting that would have been. But it was a
mistake and it has subsequently been corrected.
The PSNI officer shot in the arm on Sunday night in North Belfast
At lunchtime today, the Police Federation
of Northern Ireland called on Jeremy Corbyn
They said he had made a shocking error which needed to be corrected.
A spokesman for the Labour leader told the BBC
They said Jeremy Corbyn said the officer had died
This evening it's understood Mr Corbyn has written a letter
to the Chief Constable, George Hamilton,
The BBC can reveal more about unease felt within the Department
for the Economy over a controversial ?9 million aid package
Official documents show minister Simon Hamilton,
with Executive backing, overruled several concerns,
Here's our business correspondent Julian O'Neill.
In the end, the rescue did not work. United pulled out two weeks ago,
seeing the deal broke rules around state aid and gave the executive a
refund. The package was to have been worth ?9 million spread over three
years with most of it being paid through invest NI. However, new
details have emerged around concerns about Simon Hamilton's course of
action. His department's permanent secretary expressed unease in
writing. Papers seen by the BBC, Andrew McCormick wrote at one point,
this project is not considered affordable. He also noted some of
United's conditions meant the grant would be against basic principles of
public accountability. Mr McCormick further stated in his assessment
there is no realistic possibility of demonstrating value for money. But
Mr Hamilton with executive approval overruled him and his only regret is
that United ultimately left. I have been on record in this house and
elsewhere stating my belief in the importance of having more direct
routes to North America, both for business and for tourism reasons.
I'd it is deeply regrettable that United package didn't work out. The
paperwork seen by the BBC reasons other points and an options paper
states the European Commission would clearly be concerned the United Keys
may set a bad precedent in terms of cash for airlines. The document also
notes that losing the service by doing nothing could be viewed as
being as a direct result of Brexit, a position the DUP supported. Mr
Hamilton told us because United want a quick response there was no time
frame business case demonstrating value for money, adding he would
have been criticised for failing to support the flight. United's
departure and the refund has probably taken the most of the sting
out of any lasting controversy. However, what it might mean is that
future help for other airlines may come under more scrutiny than ever
before. The DUP leader Arlene Foster has
said she will work with Sinn Fein's new Northern leader Michelle O'Neill
at Stormont after the forthcoming In her first public comment
on the appointment, Mrs Foster said it was important to get the devolved
institutions up and running She has been appointed by Sinn Fein,
so I will have to work with Michelle O'Neill as the leader of Sinn Fein.
We need to get to the other side of the election so we can put these
institutions back in place, to make them work for the people of Northern
Ireland because that's what I am hearing very strongly that people
want, they want devolution and they want it to work.
The Department for the Economy has not yet followed through on plans
to publish the names of firms getting renewable heat payments.
One DUP MLA today offered to let journalists look
at her bank statements to prove she wasn't benefiting.
And the regulator OFGEM has confirmed it's investigating one
case of suspected fraud worth ?2.5 million.
Here's our agriculture and environment correspondent
The department had said that it intended to publish the names
of boiler owners in the interests of transparency and because they
But a court case yesterday may have temporarily derailed that plan.
A group of boiler owners got a court order granting them annonymity
for at least a week while the first stage of a legal challenge to
Around 450 boiler owners expect to be covered by that
annonymity guarantee, but that still leaves around 1,000
firms who were not party to that group action,
and who on the face it could still be named today.
But this morning there appears to be little clarity with the Department
for the Economy about whether it's still determined
Those who took the case say they're happy for names to be published,
but only after audits are done on the firms to prove which have
Once those audits have been carried out and we know who the goodies and
baddies are, and we have isolated the people who might be acting
fraudulently, we're happy for the means to be released.
It seemed appropriate that the last item of business at this Assembly
was the scheme which helped to bring it down.
RHI was up at the public account committee, one member confirming
a sister-in-law's husband was in the scheme, something she'd
I was unaware of it. My mother and father have farms and do not have
RHI and I can let any journalist see my bank statements and they will see
very clearly that there is no financial benefit from RHI.
Sinn Fein has already said that the PAC member
Michelle Gildernew, absent from today's meeting,
has a brother who's got the renewable heat scheme subsidy.
The public concern is about the alleged abuse. A story in this
morning Telegraph will keep the spotlight on that. It is
investigating three suspected fraud cases, one worth ?2.5 million.
The DUP has asked the Prime Minister to make it clear that former members
of the security forces who served in Northern Ireland should
Speaking in the House of Commons, the North Belfast MP, Nigel Dodds,
It is clear their intention is to rewrite the history of the past.
Will she make it clear the one-sided legal persecution of police officers
and soldiers who did so much to bring peace to Northern Ireland will
not be allowed to continue? There are a number of investigations by
the PSN eye into former soldiers and their activities in Northern
Ireland. It is absolutely right we recognise that the majority of
people who lost their lives as a result of terrorist activity and it
is important that that terrorist activity is looked into, that is why
one of the issues that my right honourable friend effective state
for Northern Ireland is looking at is this legacy question and how that
issue of investigation on all sides can take place in the future.
A law firm representing former soldiers facing prosecution
for killings during the Troubles have called for an
The call comes after a number of unionist and Conservative MPs
criticised recent decisions to take legal action against former members
of the army who served here during the Troubles.
With the second in a series of reports on the debate
about whether former soldiers should face legal action,
here's our home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney.
Another march like this is due to take place in London on Friday -
ex-soldiers protesting about a decision to re-investigate
All of us signed a cheque to our country to the value of our lives.
Recent decisions to prosecute former soldiers for killings
during the Troubles have provoked a furious response from some MPs
There have been calls to introduce emergency legislation to make it
impossible for former soldiers to be prosecuted.
Some have even suggested that decisions to prosecute have been
This MP is a former major who served in Northern Ireland.
Troops that are serving right now will not be able to expect
that their Government stands with them for the actions they take
on the battlefield if what they can see is those who have served before
now being subject to prosecution so long after their duty is done.
And these prosecutions cannot be allowed to continue.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, himself a former UDR minister,
was part of a DUP team involved in failed negotiations about how
He accepts that those who broke the law should be held to account,
but says current legacy investigations are unfairly
The question for me and for many people in Northern Ireland,
including the innocent victims, is who's investigating
the 3,000 unsolved murders, who's investigating the 90%
of killings that were carried out by terrorist organisations
This is an unbalanced process, it's an unfair process,
it's an unjust process and we're not prepared to go along with it.
This London based law firm represents some former soldiers
facing prosecution for a number of killings, including
These are soldiers whose shootings were investigated at the time.
They took place and the then DPP took a decision based
upon the evidence that was then available that no action
They've got on with their lives, their memories have faded,
and now after in some cases more than 40 years,
they face the prospect of being prosecuted and they feel
that is very prejudicial for them and they are very
Justice must be seen to be done and I think in these circumstances
it would help everybody if someone, such as a senior judge,
were to be instructed by the Government to review
the processes and procedures that have been put in place.
The Public Prosecution Service has said it applies the law as it
currently stands in Northern Ireland and does so without fear,
The PSNI says it has a legal responsiblity to ensure
there are effective investigations into all killings
So what of the families of those killed by the army
during the conflict and the possibility of prosecution
It's now known that the Government' view in the early days
of the Troubles was that "the army should not be inhibited in it's
campaign against terrorism by the threat of court proceedings
and should therefore be suitably indemnified."
Mervyn Jess has been speaking to the relatives of two civilians
shot dead by soldiers, one in the seventies, the other
John was a civilian shot dead by the Army in February 19 73. The
33-year-old victim's brother discusses his family's long campaign
to get to the truth of what happened that night. Along with Tina whose
15-year-old brother Daniel was also shot by a soldier in 1981. I have no
hatred and bitterness but I am still very, very angry that my life and my
family's life has been torn apart by such an act. I want those
responsible to be held accountable. Whatever course that takes I am
quite happy to go along with that. It is not about revenge, it's not
about anything like that. It is about trying to bring a certain
amount of closure to my life, even at my age now. Nothing in our family
was the same after he died. It had a detrimental effect and destroyed it.
My family -- father died prematurely. I would say personally
I regard him as a victim also. He died a young healthy man. One west
Belfast solicitor who has represented several families seeking
and is outlined their basic starting position. From my experience, we
have to remember the context of all this. The families never got a
proper investigation into the deaths of their relatives, they never had a
proper inquest. All the evidence was before the inquest. Lethal force
incidents involved would be investigated by the police which is
a very unsatisfactory situation. There is no proper investigation for
these families. Republicans accused the British Government of blocking
progress on legacy cases because of concerns of State security. What we
have said from the very start as people deserve the truth. British
people, Irish people, whether the victims are from the British Army
are from the IRA and Loyalist, that is our basic decision. Look at how
much has been achieved. This is something they could just maybe
bring along at ease, this is the closure needed for everyone. For
those whose lives were directly affected, legacy is an issue that
won't go away. At the conclusion of another legacy
inquest earlier today, the Belfast coroner revealed
the identity of a British soldier who shot dead a 29 year
old father-of-six in Henry Thornton was killed
as he sat in his van close The vehicle backfired twice,
and the soldier opened fire, The victim's family was in court
to hear the soldier named as Sergeant Allan McVitie,
who is now deceased. Doctors here have taken another
step closer to leaving Members of the British Medical
Association agreed at a meeting that practices could leave the health
service at some future date. If 60% of members vote
in favour of the move, GP's could operate independently,
charging patients up to ?45 It's never too late
to try something new, Donna has been to meet
people who've taken on very different challenges
for their personal and professional development at the Belfast
Metropolitan College. What's happening here in the college
this evening is replicated in so many community centres, sports halls
and church halls all over the place. Life long learning. People are
setting themselves new challenges, stepping outside their comfort zone
and learning something new. It could be doing a pottery course, it could
be learning a new language. I have even read up about a course where
you learn to become a comedian. Lorena small used to be a dentist,
she plans to open a boutique guesthouse and so she is doing a
cookery course at the Titanic campus in Belfast. Initially I had some
reservations about joining a class where I would definitely be the
oldest, I am older than some of the tutors in our chorus, but we have
integrated really, really well and if you have a dream, you have to
live it. Here at Belfast met, we get all kinds of students, every race,
colour, creed, nationality, the come to the door is under very welcome.
We have had former ambulance drivers, teachers, barristers. I
think they've got a passion for food and an interest in the industry. If
they want to learn, we are lucky to be able to nurture that passion and
to be able to introduce them to a vibrant industry that is very busy
and crying out for them. Here at the Millfield campus, you will also find
people challenging themselves to do something different, to be created.
Alan, you joined the chorus here. I retired seven years ago are my
friend said why don't you come down and do something different? I came
along and I haven't had an idea what I was going to do but started making
moulds and either bands from that and became a bit more adventurous.
Did you knew you had that creativity already? Had you exercised it before
in your job, and other hobbies? I am junkie. I like techniques and this
was an opportunity to try something different. -- technique junkie. You
are using ancient techniques, the Greeks and Romans used these and
it's fascinating to see how your piece develops. There is great
excitement when you knock the ceramic cut-off to see what you've
got. There is a great social aspect to this, it's great fun. We are
learning different things. It does a critical when you go to see
something, even some of the larger sculptures. And you ask, how did
they do that? Firmly, that is the fascinating thing, seeing how other
people do it. You learn from each other, he finds that he has an idea.
You think you'll try that. You knock the ceramic frenzy that has gone
slightly wrong Laura Wright commits you try again. It's all part of the
fun. Night-time and part-time courses take so many people along
very different paths. The great writer WB Yeats once said education
is not about the filling of a pale but the lighting of a fire. If you
set yourself a new challenge for the New Year, join the conversation on
our Facebook page. The words of 15-year-old Donegal
actor Art Parkinson after the film in which he plays
a starring role was Our north-west reporter,
Keiron Tourish, caught up He rose to prominence in game of
thrones. Art Parkinson was back at his old
Irish speaking school today taking all the headlines in his stride. In
any language, his latest success is the big deal. The unassuming
15-year-old voiced the lead role in the animated 3-D film. It has been
nominated for Best animated film and Best visual effects at the Oscars.
The Donegal schoolboy was told in the school corridor between classes.
I spent all day thinking about and buy lunch had completely forgotten.
I didn't get the the chance to check. Then somebody let me know. It
hadn't really struck me at the time then I got home and I was looking up
and reading about it and is just crazy. It's an honour, really. I
never really thought this could ever happen. It's always been a dream of
mine being an actor, something I've always thought about. I didn't think
it would happen to me at such a young age. He was delighted but
realised he still had two classes. The trials and tribulations of being
a big movie star. It's great to see the wee lad going to the Oscars. He
has worked hard for it obviously. He will be rubbing shoulders with
co-star Matthew McConnachie, the Donegal teenager will be taking his
schoolbooks along with hammer. Art Parkinson says he is both excited
and nervous about treading the red carpet at the Oscars ceremony next
month. He paid tribute to family and friends here in Donegal who are
keeping well grounded. Good luck to him.
Golfer Graeme McDowell gets his season underway tomorrow in Qatar.
After a frustrating couple of years, during which he failed
to qualify for the Ryder Cup, the Portrush man says he's still got
what it takes to win another major tournament.
Before he flew out to the middle East, McDowell talked
Welcoming stars of stage, screen and sport to a charity function in New
York. Just one of the many commitments Graeme McDowell
undertakes any busy global schedule away from playing his sport. His
focus is now on what first meeting successful. All the business stuff
that's been going on, it's been a learning experience to learn how to
juggle that mentally, to make sure I have the right people around me to
look after it so it doesn't take any energy away from me. So I can get
back to what I do best. It doesn't matter how great a businesses, my
potential is still on the golf course. McDowell has been practising
hard as he sets out on another season on two. After what has been a
hectic couple of years in his personal life. Getting married and
having children, you never really understand the duty from your
priorities point of view, from a desire to play the game of golf
point of view, they had more of an effect than I thought we were going
to. I wouldn't change it for the world. I am at the other end note no
clear of mind. I do want more things from the next five to ten years of
my career. McDowell most famous tramp at the US Open is now nearly
seven years ago. The Port Rush Mann has the belief that he can rekindle
that major winning form. I'm not comfortable playing... I see how
good everyone is now and the bar needs to be raised. I need to get
myself back there soon either going to bypass me. I think it's a make or
break. All I can do is get myself in the path where they want to be and
if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I want to give myself every
opportunity I can in the next two years. I am not going to be
impatient. If my goods are not good enough, so be it. The RA big two
years for me. I've got to be really patient with it and view it as a
marathon, not a sprint. Graeme McDowell, refreshed, refocused and
ready for a very important season, determined to get back to the very
top of world golf. Chilly today and it will get colder.
We have had sunshine today and lots of places have been dry as well. It
will be predominantly dry tonight but if you are out and about, it
will be cold in that wind. At the same time, the wind should keep the
frost away from most places, temperatures staying above freezing
but a much colder night compared to last night. Tomorrow, we are going
to half the temperature and still have a cold wind. If anything, the
wind will feel absolutely bitter tomorrow.
Most definitely a day for the big coat. Lower temperatures tomorrow.
Mostly dry and it will feel cold in that wind. Some thicker patches of
cloud which could bring a few pieces of rain. Maybe even snow over the
hills. It looks like the bulk of the date will be dry. One or two
brighter spells and the odd when to shower. Five or 6 degrees, cold in
that wind, when you take the wind into account it will feel more like
it's freezing. A really cold day tomorrow, better and most definitely
as the day for the big coat. Tomorrow looks like it will still be
quite cold and windy, largely dry as well. It could get close to freezing
in one or two spots. On Friday, the cold wind starts to ease and will
gradually dragged a weather front in from the west. Dull dampened drizzly
weather at some stage on Friday. It certainly will not be reading the
whole day. Dry gaps as well. The Weekender start and settled with
showery rain but the wind eases and it looks like a nice day to come on
Sunday with some sunshine. The rush-hour traffic congestion in
Belfast tonight. An accident is that includes the west link towards the
M1, these pictures show some of the gridlock. Police said a short time
ago they hope to reopen the road soon after a very serious incident.
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