George Hamilton warning over PSNI budget cuts

George Hamilton George Hamilton said proposed cuts represent "a huge sum of money"

Related Stories

The chief constable has warned that the ability of the PSNI to do its job will suffer because of budget cuts of up to £80m this year.

George Hamilton told the Policing Board that could mean reducing the amount of resources used to investigate the past to concentrate on policing the present.

The sums involved are vast, but have been substantially reduced due to a variety of cuts.

The overall PSNI budget this year was more than £1bn.

But more than a quarter of that is for ongoing pension costs.

A cut of more than £47m was imposed as part of a four-year budget settlement, leaving an operating budget of £738m.

Further cuts by the Department of Justice and running costs for the Historical Enquiries Team reduced that figure to just under £717m.

The PSNI is now being asked to make further cuts in the region of 3-5% this financial year. A cut of 4% would mean a reduction in budget of a further £18m.

The chief constable told the Policing Board on Thursday that further cuts would have an impact on the ability of the PSNI to deliver frontline policing services.

"The total reduction in the police budget in this year compared with last year is going to be at best £73m, and it could rise on the projections we have been asked to give up towards £88m. That is a huge sum of money," he said.

"You cannot have cuts of that size without it having an impact on the service we can provide. We are trying to minimise that impact as much as possible."

Policing Budget 2014 - 2015

Source: PSNI

Total budget

£1.1bn

Pension costs

£275m approx

Previously agreed savings as part of four year plan

£47m

Operating Budget after deductions

£740m

Department of Justice holdings

£11m

Wider pay reforms

£4m

Historical Enquiries contribution (previously funded by Department of Justice)

£6m

Final Operating Budget

£717m approx.

The problem for the chief constable is that around 80% of his operational costs are spent on salaries and other fixed costs. That reduces the flexibility of his decision-making, as it it means any cuts will have to come from the remaining 20% of the budget.

So where are cuts likely to be made?

Policing the past

The PSNI said its primary responsibility is to keep people safe today and that its focus is on policing the present, not the past.

Senior officers have said repeatedly that the cost of dealing with the past is a huge drain on resources, both in terms of financial cost and personnel.

The current annual cost of what the PSNI calls "legacy issues" is about £25m.

The chief constable said on Thursday the cuts could mean "shrinkage" in the amount of time and resources deployed to deal with the past.

"We acknowledge that we have a legal responsibility around the past, but the priority has to be keeping people safe in the present," he said.

"If I have to reduce the head-count of police officers or police staff, I will do it on historical issues before I do it on keeping people safe today."

So what kind of investigations could be affected?

The future of the Historical Enquiries Team HET) is already in doubt after a highly critical inspection report which led to its director, Dave Cox, having to stand down.

There are also financial pressures as the PSNI is currently paying £5.9m a year to run it, costs that were previously picked up by the Department of Justice.

A reduction in resources to deal with the past could lead to the HET being substantially scaled down, or abolished and its work taken over by a new, smaller specialist PSNI team.

Other major police investigations into legacy issues could also be affected.

The HET was set up to re-examine deaths during the Troubles The HET could be substantially scaled down or abolished

These include a review of letters issued to about 200 republicans as part of the On the Runs scheme, assuring them they were not wanted for arrest or questioning by the police.

The existence came to light earlier this year after the collapse of a court case against Donegal man John Downey, who had been accused of the murders of four soldiers in the IRA's Hyde Park bombing in 1982.

He had been wrongly told he was not wanted for questioning, but the judge said the assurance he had been given had to be honoured because the PSNI was aware a mistake had been made but did not inform him.

A team of 30 detectives is currently reviewing all of the letters to check if any others contained mistakes.

Bloody Sunday

Other major legacy investigations that could potentially be scaled back include the killing of 13 innocent civilians by soldiers on Bloody Sunday.

The PSNI also deploys a large number of resources to provide files and information for coroners' inquests and that process could also be scaled down.

If the past suffers, could resources to deal with the present also be cut?

There has been speculation that the PSNI may have to stop or substantially reduce its current recruitment process.

Mr Hamilton made it clear that this would be "the absolute last option".

The PSNI said in order to maintain what they call "operational resilience" - it needs enough officers to do the job.

It recruited 100 new officers last year, and plans to recruit a further 378 this financial year and the same number the following year.

Police recruits The PSNI plans to recruit a further 378 officers this financial year

There are currently around 6,600 police officers here, but around 200 leave each year through retirement and other reasons.

The PSNI compiled a Review of Resilience and Capability before embarking on the recruitment drive.

The numbers were very precise, with the review stating that the PSNI believes it needs 6,953 officers, supported by 2,601 civilian staff, to maintain resilience. Those conclusions were accepted by the Policing Board and the Department of Justice.

"That is the bottom line figure," a source said.

"If numbers drop below that, it will impact on our ability to provide a service and keep people safe, so the last thing we want to do is turn off the recruitment tap, because doing so would have long term detrimental impact."

But while the chief constable said reducing the number of police officers was a last option, he did not rule it out entirely.

"I can't recruit people if I don't have the money to pay them," he said.

Another area where the chief constable has little room for manoeuvre is what the PSNI calls "the Northern Ireland factor", which accounts for about 25% of its operating budget.

This includes combating the ongoing threat from dissident republicans, what the government and security services refer to as "national security" and the policing of parades and protests.

The chief constable said he cannot see any change in the Northern Ireland policing environment in the immediate future, which means those security costs will continue.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Northern Ireland stories

RSS

BBC News NI Live

  1.  
    19:00: Goodnight: Ciaran McCauley BBC News NI

    That's it from BBC News NI Live today - we'll be back per usual tomorrow at 07:00.

    Remember, there's still five hours left in this rainy April Fools Day so don't get pranked and don't get caught in the rain. We'll see you again tomorrow.

     
  2.  
    18:59: Hungry Hungry...humans?

    You may be familiar with the tabletop game Hungry Hungry Hippos where the aim of the game is to capture as many balls using a mechanical hippo but what would that look like in human form? Well, wonder no more.

    Hungry Human Hippos

    The Markethill Girls Brigade in County Armagh played a game of human Hungry Hungry Hippos, as highlighted by this video on the Ulster Gazette Facebook page.

     
  3.  
    18:56: Williams banned for eight weeks: BBC Sport NI

    Ulster forward Nick Williams has been suspended for eight weeks for striking opponent Rhys Patchell during the Pro12 match against Cardiff Blues.

    Nick Williams

    The committee ruled because of Ulster's fixtures, Williams will not be able to play again until 1 September.

     
  4.  
    18:53: Windsor before and after:

    What a difference a game makes - these pictures offer a before and after view of Windsor Park's West Stand.

    Windsor Park

    On the left, the teams emerge on to the pitch in front of a packed West Stand for Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifier. But yesterday the stand was closed after cracks were found in the structure.

     
  5.  
    18:50: Belfast leisure centre funding:

    Belfast City councillor John Kyle tweets:

    John Kyle
     
  6.  
    18:48: Boy 'critical' after Enniskillen crash:

    Police say that an 11-year-old boy is in a critical condition after a crash between a van and a car near Enniskillen.

    The vehicles crashed on Lough Shore Road. Two males, aged 23 and 47, were also injured.

     
  7.  
    18:43: Windsor options:

    Northern Ireland could be forced to play at the home of Ulster Rugby or somewhere in Britain if Windsor Park stadium is closed for June's Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania, says the Northern Ireland Supporters' Club chairman.

    Windsor Park

    Gary McAllister says the other option is to play at the reduced capacity stadium. The West Stand was sealed off after cracks were spotted on Tuesday.

     
  8.  
    18:39: Wet and cool tonight: Cecilia Daly BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    The full forecast shows that it's going to stay cool and wet over the evening and into tomorrow but there's a slightly better outlook for Easter weekend.

    Weather Wednesday
     
  9.  
    18:31: Planning hard work for councils: Kevin Sharkey BBC News NI

    The 11 new super-councils have been given over 6,700 planning applications to consider. The planning powers are amongst functions devolved to the new councils.

    Planning applications

    The highest number of 'live' applications is in Newry, Mourne and Down.

     
  10.  
    18:21: Milking it: Donna Traynor BBC Newsline presenter

    I'm with Cyril and Martin Millar who are telling me a thing or two about milking. I've visited their farm near Coleraine this afternoon to talk about milk quotas.

    Trainor Newsline

    I'll have more on BBC Newsline from 18:30.

     
  11.  
    18:12: Fans want meeting over Windsor safety:

    The Northern Ireland supporters club chairman has called for a meeting with the IFA after the West Stand was sealed off because of possible subsidence.

    Windsor Park

    Cracks in its structure were spotted on Tuesday. The IFA says it's waiting for a report from engineers.

     
  12.  
    18:05: Kelly welcomes hayshed shooting investigation:

    SDLP deputy leader Dolores Kelly says the an investigation into circumstances around an alleged shoot to kill incident in 1982 by Police Scotland is the "correct decision".

    Dolores Kelly

    She said: "The move to involve Police Scotland is an important step in assuring the independence and impartiality of the on-going investigation."

     
  13.  
    17:54: Man arrested after drugs searches:

    A 40-year-old man has been arrested after four more searches in Northern Ireland by police investigating an international drugs trafficking operation.

    Cannabis

    Searches were conducted in Belfast, Ballyclare and Ballynahinch. Seven people were arrested in the last week as part of the same operation.

     
  14.  
    17:41: GAA throw-in change: BBC Sport NI

    If anyone is hitting the road tonight for Cavan for the U21 championship game between Armagh and Tyrone, note that the throw-in has been moved to 20:30.

    Ulster GAA say this is to allow adequate travelling time for spectators.

     
  15.  
    17:32: Republic facing Uefa sanctions: BBC Sport NI

    The Republic of Ireland and Poland are facing sanctions from Uefa following their Euro 2016 qualifier in Dublin.

    Poland

    Martin O'Neill's side were charged with improper conduct after five players were booked in the game. Poland also face disciplinary action after their fans threw objects and set off flares in the Aviva Stadium.

     
  16.  
    17:18: Gilnahirk reopening delayed: BBC NI Travel

    The reopening of the Gilnahirk Road in Belfast has been delayed until about 20:00 tonight because of a mechanical breakdown.

     
  17.  
    17:09: 'Belly bounce' assault man sentenced:

    A Belfast man who assaulted an elderly neighbour by "belly bouncing" her has been given an eight-month suspended sentence.

    Morrison Wilson

    Morrison Wilson, 59 of Rotterdam Court, must also pay £1,000 compensation to the victim.

     
  18.  
    16:55: Probe into 'hayshed murder' surveillance:

    The PSNI confirm that Police Scotland will conduct an investigation into security personnel over an alleged shoot to kill incident in 1982.

    Hayshed Lurgan

    Michael Tighe was shot dead and Martin McCauley was wounded by members of the RUC at a hayshed near Lurgan in 1982. PSNI say that police in Scotland will investigate possible withholding or destruction of surveillance evidence.

     
  19.  
    16:29: Enniskillen road collision:

    The Lough Shore Road outside Enniskillen is blocked near Ely Lodge after a road collision. Emergency services are at the scene.

     
  20.  
    16:19: Letter paints an honest picture: Marie-Louise Connolly BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    A letter signed by eight senior ward sisters criticising the out-of-hours hospital transfers of frail, elderly patients in Belfast provides a clear and honest picture of what is happening to some extremely vulnerable men and women while in hospital.

    caring
     
  21.  
    16:08: Women plead guilty to running Derry brothel:

    Two women have pleaded guilty at Londonderry Magistrates Court to charges of running a brothel in Derry city centre.

    DERRY Bishop's Street Court house

    Andrea Dumitru, 18, and 23-year-old Stelata Serban from Grove Place in Derry committed the offences between 30 January and 27 March 2015.

     
  22.  
    15:52: 'Appalled' over elderly patient transfers: Marie-Louise Connolly BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    The Commissioner for Older People in NI says she is "appalled" by the transfer of older people between hospitals late at night.

    Claire Keatinge

    Claire Keatinge says there needs to be "leadership" from the health minister and managers to make sure these "inexcusable" transfers do not happen.

     
  23.  
    15:37: 'Tall order' for McCoy fairytale: BBC Sport NI

    Trainer Jonjo O'Neill says it will be a "tall order" for AP McCoy to end his career with a fairytale win at Aintree.

    AP McCoy

    McCoy will ride the O'Neill-trained Shutthefrontdoor in the Grand National on 11 April, indicating he will retire if he triumphs on the 8/1 favourite.

     
  24.  
    15:27: Archive: Jurassic Carrick BBC NI Archive

    Carrickfergus has often been the sight of many historical finds - but what about prehistoric eggs?

    Castle

    On 1 April 1985, the BBC's Jeremy Bowen reports on the find near Carrickfergus Castle and the "strange noises" which locals believed were attempts to hatch one of the possible dino eggs.

     
  25.  
    15:05: Minister challenged over school language scheme:

    Ulster Unionist education spokesperson Danny Kinahan has said the education minister should produce evidence that the primary school language programme was not delivering.

    Danny Kinahan

    The scheme to introduce pupils to foreign languages has had its funding pulled. Mr Kinahan said modern languages were being "prioritised in the rest of the United Kingdom" and that the decision needs to be looked at again.

     
  26.  
    14:43: 'Long-term' GP funding needed:

    The chair of the British Medical Association NI's GP committee says a £15m investment package in GP services is "welcome" but a "long-term commitment" on funding is needed.

    Tom Black

    Dr Tom Black said: "Even with this investment, funding for general practice in Northern Ireland will continue to lag behind that of the rest of the UK."

     
  27.  
    14:33: Ulster's newest import: BBC Sport NI

    He's the 14-times capped All Blacks international and he's coming to Belfast in July 2016 - but who is Charles Piutau?

    Charles Piutau

    Equally at home at wing, centre or full-back, the Blues player has scored four international tries and eight in Super Rugby. His explosive play has already led to highlight reels like this - Ulster fans will be hoping for more the same next year.

     
  28.  
    14:23: Superhero role for Nesbitt: Belfast Telegraph

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that Northern Irish actor James Nesbitt will star in a new 10-part series for Sky1 called Lucky Man, which has been written by the celebrated writer Stan Lee.

    Jimmy Nesbitt
     
  29.  
    14:10: Lidl to open 60 news stores

    Lidl has announced a plan to open up to 60 new stores across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Lidl sign

    The first store Lidl store in Ireland opened in 2000 and the grocery retailer's expansion has been rapid with 38 stores now operating across Northern Ireland.

     
  30.  
    14:00: Foolish stories that are true

    Given the date today, you might have found yourself fooled by stories that are nothing more than April Fool's Day pranks.

    Cats, Dash button, dancing, greyhounds, and restaurant payment (clockwise from top left)

    Well, our colleagues in the BBC Magazine team have put together a list of 10 stories that look like pranks but aren't.

     
  31.  
    13:49: Suspended sentence for 'belly bounce' assault

    A Belfast man who assaulted an elderly neighbour by "belly bouncing" her away from his home has been handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence.

    Morrison Wilson must also pay a total of £1,000 compensation to the woman and her daughter for two separate incidents linked to a parking dispute.

     
  32.  
    13:40: Boucher Road B&Q closure

    The B&Q store on the Boucher Road in south Belfast will also close in addition to the closure of the B&Q store in Londonderry.

    Shoppers walking past a B&Q store

    Kingfisher, the owner of DIY chains B&Q and Screwfix, announced yesterday that it is to close about 60 B&Q stores in the UK and Ireland over the next two years.

     
  33.  
    13:31: Leisure centre jobs assurance: Rick Faragher BBC News NI

    Representatives of the unions NIPSA and Unite say they have been given assurances that there will be no compulsory redundancies for Robinson Centre staff following a meeting with the senior management of Belfast City Council and its chief executive.

    The asbestos was found in an area of the centre not open to the public

    Alison Morris of NIPSA said: "All areas will be explored, not just in terms of leisure but across all the new council areas to seek to reassure these staff that they do have a future in Belfast City Council."

     
  34.  
    13:25: Road blocked after collision

    PSNI tweets:

    Road closure
     
  35.  
    13:20: More rain coming: Cecilia Daly BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    Plenty of cloud and showery rain this afternoon - though some gaps in the rain too. Brisk winds easing, but still chilly.

    Weather
     
  36.  
    13:15: No redundancies at leisure centre:

    BBC News NI reporter Rick Faragher tweets:

    Rick Faragher
     
  37.  
    13:14: Derry B&Q set to close

    The BBC understands that the B&Q store in Londonderry is set to close with the loss of up to 60 jobs. It is expected that the Derry branch will stop trading in January 2016.

    B&Q Derry

    Kingfisher, the DIY chains parent company, is to close about 60 B&Q stores in the UK and Ireland over the next two years.

     
  38.  
    13:05: 900 jobs to secured with building firm merger: Julian O'Neill BBC News NI Business Correspondent

    Northern Ireland's oldest building firm H&J Martin has been taken over by another construction company in a deal that Enterprise Minister Arlen Foster says will "secure the future of over 900 jobs."

    Arlene Foster

    The move also involves another Belfast firm, Lagan Construction. The two companies have been in discussions for several weeks and their combined turnover is more than £300m.

     
  39.  
    12:51: Social housing call for Visteon site

    Sinn Féin's Paul Maskey said the future of the Visteon factory site must include both social housing and economic use. Fold Housing has been told the scheme does not include enough new space for economic or business use.

    West Belfast MP Paul Maskey

    Mr Maskey said: "Clearly there is a high demand for homes in west Belfast and this site is large enough to include both new homes and economic use."

     
  40.  
    12:40: Historic building firm bought:

    BBC News NI economics and business editor John Campbell tweets:

    H&J Martin
     
  41.  
    12:36: Investment in GP services:

    Health Minister Jim Wells has announced a £15m investment package in GP services.

    Jim Wells

    The money includes a £3.1m investment in out of hours GP services. He said: "This package of investment will help to address some of the current difficulties and plan for future challenges in general practice."

     
  42.  
    12:27: Ulster sign Piutau: BBC Sport NI

    Ulster Rugby have confirmed the signing of New Zealand international, Charles Piutau, on a two-year contract.

    Charler Piutau

    The 23-year-old utility back has 14 caps for the All-Blacks.

     
  43.  
    12:17: Musical instruments for bands scheme on hold

    Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has said the Musical Instruments for Bands scheme is to be put on hold.

    Flute band

    The grants help bands replace instruments and £200,000 was available last year. The minister said she intended to bid for extra money in the June monitoring round.

     
  44.  
    12:06: Today on Talkback: BBC Talkback

    Our top story on BBC Talkback today - nurses say the system of out-of-hours hospital transfers in Belfast results in abuse of elderly patients.

    William Crawley

    Does this make you nervous about going to hospital? Call and text us on 08459555678 to get involved from 12:00.

     
  45.  
    11:56: Rates breakdown:

    BBC News NI political correspondent Chris Page tweets:

    Chris Page
     
  46.  
    11:39: Plane damage:

    Earlier we reported that two Ryanair planes clipped each other on the ground at Dublin airport.

    Ryanair

    This photo taken by Paul Roche shows the damage caused after a winglet struck the tail fin of the other plane.

     
  47.  
    11:24: New legal services agency launched:

    Justice Minister David Ford has launched the Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland. It will be responsible for the provision of publicly funded legal services. The new agency replaces the Legal Services Commission.

    David Ford

    Mr Ford said: "The agency will be at the heart of a reform process that will see legal aid become leaner and more efficient".

     
  48.  
    11:06: U21 semis to be decided: BBC Sport NI

    Places in the Ulster U21 final will be settled on Wednesday night when Tyrone, Armagh, Donegal and Monaghan do battle in their respective semi-finals.

    Peter Canavan will be on the sideline as part of the Tyrone U21 management team in the Ulster semi-final against Armagh

    Tyrone have not won the U21 title since 2006 but lost two finals to Cavan in 2011 and 2012, while their semi-final opponents Armagh last won in 2007.

     
  49.  
    10:54: Recycling centre first to open next month: Newtownabbey Times

    The Newtownabbey Times reports that Northern Ireland's first zero waste recycling centre will open at O'Neill Road, Glengormley next month.

    Work is continuing on the £840,000 development, which is being jointly funded through the DoE Rethink Waste Fund and through funding from council.

     
  50.  
    10:44: P&O ferry service disruption: BBC NI Travel

    There is disruption due to adverse weather and technical issues to P&O's ferry service between Larne and Cairnryan.

    The next departure from Larne to Cairnryan is approximately 14:30. Passengers affected by these changes however can ring P&O for more information on 0845 839 0845.

     
  51.  
    10:35: Water conservation - don't get fooled again: BBC NI Archive

    For the day that's in it - watch BBC Northern Ireland's Richard Ayre's report from 1977 on the new Water Conservation Unit - a scheme that allows customers to collect water from leaking taps and return it back to the main reservoir.

    Water sign

    Remember, every little drip makes a big drop.

     
  52.  
    10:25: Family sorrow as 11-year-old boy dies: Irish News

    The Irish News reports that the family of an 11-year-old who died just 25 hours after feeling too ill to play for his football team have been left "stunned" by the loss.

    Front page Irish News 1 April 2015
     
  53.  
    10:15: Couple earn £200,000 from charity: Belfast Telegraph

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that the wife of the Northern Ireland's top-earning charity boss is also employed in an executive role within the organisation.

    Front page Bel Tel 1 April 2015
     
  54.  
    10:06: Road closed due to fallen tree:

    Trafficwatch NI tweets:

    Fallen tree
     
  55.  
    09:56: Spring in Northern Ireland

    It appears that the weather is playing a cruel April Fool's joke on most of us across Northern Ireland as the cold and wet weather continues.

    Cairncastle

    Some places were colder than others as John Conley's picture of the snow-capped Antrim hills near Cairncastle in County Antrim clearly shows. Things are going to improve though as more settled weather is on the way this weekend.

     
  56.  
    09:44: Introduction of decimal time: BBC NI Archive

    The decimalisation of currency may have caused some confusion back in 1971 but did the decimalisation of time run a smoother course?

    Time

    Watch Richard Ayre's report from 40 years ago on government plans to introduce decimal time in Northern Ireland. It was first broadcast on Scene Around Six on April Fool's Day in 1975. Enjoy!

     
  57.  
    09:35: Traffic coops: BBC NI Travel

    BBC NI Travel tweets: In Belfast we've got helpers surveying the city centre traffic for us again this morning...

    Great Victoria Street birds
     
  58.  
    09:25: More detail on west Belfast shooting: PSNI

    The paramilitary style shooting in the Lady Street area of west Belfast happened at 20:55.

    A 26-year-old man was shot once in each leg by two men dressed in dark clothing who were seen heading off on foot in the direction of the McDonnell Street area.

    The man's injuries are not life-threatening.

     
  59.  
    09:17: Paramilitary style shooting in Belfast:

    PSNI tweets:

    PSNI
     
  60.  
    09:17: Newry firm seeks to diversify:

    BBC News NI economics and business editor John Campbell tweets:

    First Derivatives
     
  61.  
    09:04: Rathlin ferry cancellations: BBC NI Travel

    The 10:00 and 12:00 ferries leaving Ballycastle to Rathlin Island and the 11:00 sailing from Rathlin to Ballycastle have all been cancelled.

     
  62.  
    08:56: Rates increase 'regrettable': BBC Radio Foyle

    The new chief executive of the new Derry City and Strabane council, John Kelpie, says it is regrettable that the new council is starting with a rates increase for some ratepayers.

    John Kelpie

    Mr Kelpie said: "It's really important to stress that the vast majority of that increase is not as a result of the council merger. We are going to be...focussing on growth, job creation and moving the entire region forward."

     
  63.  
    08:44: Ryanair planes 'clipped' each other on Dublin runway:

    Two Ryanair airplanes had a slight collision on a runway at Dublin Airport. There are delays as passengers wait for replacement aircraft.

    Ryanair planes

    A Ryanair statement says: "Two of our aircraft were taxiing slowly to the runway at Dublin Airport this morning. The winglet of one aircraft appears to have scraped the tail fin of the other. Both aircraft were under the instruction of Dublin Airport Air Traffic Control at the time."

     
  64.  
    08:35: Lane blocked on M1:

    BBC NI Travel tweets:

    M1 blockage
     
  65.  
    08:33: Devolution of air passenger duty needed: Clodagh Rice Business Reporter, BBC News NI

    Managing director of Belfast International Airport Graham Keddie has told BBC Good Morning Ulster that the power to alter air passenger duty needs to be devolved to Northern Ireland so it can compete with airports in the Republic of Ireland.

    Graham Keddie

    Air passenger duty on a return flight from Belfast to Great Britain is currently set at £26 but no such duty is payable on equivalent routes from Dublin.

     
  66.  
    08:24: Primary school languages programme cut: Colletta Smith BBC News NI

    The Primary Modern Languages Programme has been scrapped as part of Department of Education's cuts for the new financial year.

    Sorcha Turnbull teaching

    Four hundred and thirteen schools in Northern Ireland have had staff come in to teach Spanish, Irish or Polish. The Department of Education said the scheme had cost £900,000 a year.

     
  67.  
    08:14: Dublin airport collision causing delays:

    There are delays to departures at Dublin airport because the airport says two aircraft appear to have "clipped each other on a taxiway."

    Dublin airport
     
  68.  
    08:11: Garlic eye remedy kills MRSA

    This morning on BBC Good Morning Ulster there was a story that a 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

    Bald's eyesalve

    Some sceptical listeners have pointed out that it is April Fool's Day but it's no joke as scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow's stomach.

     
  69.  
    08:00: O'Brien joins Leicestershire T20 team: BBC Sport NI

    Ireland cricketer Kevin O'Brien has joined Leicestershire for this season's T20 Blast campaign.

    Ireland cricketer Kevin O'Brien joins Leicestershire T20 team

    The experienced all-rounder joins his brother Niall at Grace Road for a six-week period from 15 May to 26 June.

     
  70.  
    07:50: Newry firm makes £7.7m Canadian purchase: Clodagh Rice Business Reporter, BBC News NI

    Newry-based software firm First Derivatives has acquired Canadian firm Affinity Systems Limited for £7.7m. It is the latest in a series of investments made by the firm which now employs around 1,000 people.

    First Derivatives

    Last week, First Derivatives bought Dublin software firm ActivateClients for £3.4m, In October 2014, the Newry firm paid £36m for a majority stake in US software firm Kx Systems.

     
  71.  
    07:48: Delays on the Westlink:

    BBC NI Travel tweets:

    Westlink traffic
     
  72.  
    07:40: New air links to Europe: Clodagh Rice Business Reporter, BBC News NI

    A budget airline that operates in central and eastern Europe, Wizz Air, is launching two new routes from Belfast International Airport.

    Belfast International Airport

    The route to Katowice in south west Poland launched last night. Later on this month the airline will also start flying to Vilnius in Lithuania.

     
  73.  
    07:35: Policing board salaries cut: Kevin Magee BBC News NI

    The salaries of new members of the Policing Board are to be cut. The Policing Board is one of the largest public bodies in Northern Ireland with 10 political appointments and nine independent members.

    Policing Board

    The salary for the new chairperson will be cut by 15% to £50,000 a year. The incoming vice chair's money will fall by 31% and payments to new board members will be cut by almost a quarter from £19,500 to £15,000 a year.

     
  74.  
    07:30: BT creating 78 more jobs in NI: Clodagh Rice Business Reporter, BBC News NI

    BT is creating 78 new jobs in Northern Ireland over the next six months. The posts will be across a range of areas like software development, engineering, customer service and sales.

    BT tower in Belfast city centre

    BT will also be offering 10 students 48-week work experience placements that will start in September. Over the last year, the telecommunications company has created 250 roles here.

     
  75.  
    07:25: Persistent rain but not as windy: Geoff Maskell BBC News NI Weather Presenter

    It's a bit of a chilly and wet start but as we go through the day we are going to see the winds start to ease. Showers will turn to persistent rain, less heavy but more prolonged through the day.

    Morning weather 1 April 2015

    Tonight will be mild with plenty of cloud cover but Thursday is going to be another wet day. The good news is that things begin to look better for the upcoming Easter weekend.

     
  76.  
    07:20: Sailing delay: BBC NI Travel

    The 10:30 Stena sailing from Belfast to Liverpool will be delayed by two hours because of the weather.

     
  77.  
    07:19: Ormeau collision causing delays:

    Trafficwatch NI tweets:

    Ormeau collision
     
  78.  
    07:15: EU milk quotas end: Martin Cassidy BBC NI rural affairs correspondent

    Northern Ireland dairy farmers are beginning a new era of unrestricted production following the ending of European milk quotas.

    Milk

    Production is expected to grow as Northern Ireland processors take advantage of increased demand in world markets for cheese and milk powders.

     
  79.  
    07:10: Council merger sees swim club close:

    An Enniskillen swimming club says it will be forced to close due to increased fees for using a pool following the local council merger.

    Lakeland Forum leisure centre

    Lakelanders amateur swimming club said the price for hiring a lane at Lakeland Forum leisure centre has gone up from £4.20 an hour to £15, a rise of 357%.

     
  80.  
    07:05: Housing association told to revise plan: John Campbell BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

    A housing association has been told it must revise its plan to redevelop the former Visteon factory site in west Belfast.

    Visteon sit-in

    Fold Housing has been told the scheme does not include enough new space for economic or business use. It wants to build 244 homes, a community centre and business units on the site.

     
  81.  
    07:02: Transfers an 'abuse' of the elderly: Marie-Louise Connolly BBC News NI Health Correspondent

    Several senior nurses have described the out-of-hours hospital transfers of frail, elderly patients in Belfast as an abuse of vulnerable adults.

    Nurse helping elderly patient

    They criticised the system, saying some patients were not being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The complaint was made in a letter signed by eight senior ward sisters.

     
  82.  
    07:01: Ferry services

    BBC NI Travel tweets:

    BBC NI Travel 1 April 2015
     
  83.  
    07:00: Good morning!: Ciaran Daly BBC News NI

    Good morning and welcome to BBC News NI Live on this, Wednesday 1 April. Don't be foolish, stick with us because we'll be bringing you all of the latest news, sport, travel and weather up until 19:00 this evening.

     

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.