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Summary

  1. Updates for Tuesday 20 December 2016
  2. Picture: Winter sunset in Carrickfergus, County Antrim (by Paul McFarland)

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight!

That's it from BBC News NI live for today. We'll be back at 07:00 tomorrow with more updates on news, sport, travel and weather. Enjoy your evening.

Tomorrow is shortest day of the year

IFA to discuss poppy fine tomorrow

The IFA will meet tomorrow to discuss its response to the £11,769 fine imposed by Fifa for a poppy display in the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan last month.

Poppy
Press Eye

As it stands, the Northern Ireland governing body cannot appeal against the 15,000 Swiss francs sanction. That is because Fifa rules states that only fines exceeding 15,000 Sfr can be appealed against.  

Da talks from set of Give My Head Peace special

Charming way to foil thieves

Virus-hit hotel vows to reopen as soon as possible

The Slieve Russell hotel, which has been forced to close temporarily due to an outbreak of the nororvirus, has said it will reopen as soon as possible.

Slieve Russell
BBC

"The health and safety of our staff, visitors and guests at the Slieve Russell Hotel is of paramount importance to us and we are taking every precaution to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all our patrons," said a spokesperson.

Gun found during house refurbishment

Police have recovered a gun from a house at Annadale Crescent in south Belfast. 

Police
bb

Police were told about the weapon as the house was being refurbished yesterday. A further search was carried out today and the weapon was removed for forensic examination.

Judge orders rugby star and wife to face trials

A judge has ordered a retired Ulster and Scotland rugby star to go on trial accused of assaulting his estranged wife. 

Daniellis
Press Eye

However, two weeks after Simon Danielli goes on trial for allegedly assaulting his wife Olivia, damaging her phone and assaulting her friend, Mrs Danielli will go on trial in the same court, in front of the same judge, accused of damaging her husband's car.   

Advice to public on stopping norovirus spread

WW2 bombs found at forest park

Two World War Two bombs found in Castlewellan Forest Park last night have been made safe by the Army.

Castlewellan Forest Park
Geograph/Albert Bridge

Controlled explosions were carried out and the alert ended at about 13:00 today.

Ó Muilleoir pledge on RHI scheme closure

EU states 'aware of Irish border sensitivities'

Mark Devenport

BBC News NI Political Editor

The prime minister says the indications are that other EU member states are very well aware of the sensitivities concerning the land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. 

Theresa May
Press Eye

Theresa May told a committee of the House of Commons that other EU states want to see a  solution that works for both sides of the border. 

Baggage handlers' strike suspended

A strike by baggage handlers at UK airports planned for 23/24th December has been suspended, the Unite union has said.

Baggage
Swissport

Women's false imprisonment convictions overturned

Two women convicted of falsely imprisoning a man in a case involving a suspected British agent have won a 30-year battle to clear their names.

Court
BBC

Mary Clinton and Bernadette Armstrong had always protested their innocence over events at a house in Rathbeg Close, Downpatrick in 1987. The alleged victim in the case was taken from the house and shot for being a suspected informer, according to papers in the case.

Westlink incident cleared, but delays remain

Lane closed on Westlink

Facebook to pay damages to flag protester

Facebook must pay £3,000 damages to a loyalist flag protester for online comments about his children's religion, a High Court judge ruled today. 

Facebook
bb

The judge made the award after finding the social media giant liable for misuse of private information.  

UKIP leader calls on Foster to step down

The leader of UKIP has called for Arlene Foster to stand down as first minister to facilitate an independent, judge-led inquiry into the RHI scandal.

Paul Nuttall
BBC

"It cannot be fully, fairly and impartially addressed if the current first minister remains in place, as she would ultimately be involved in initiating the groundwork for any investigation," said Paul Nuttall.

Connacht trio agree contract extensions

Denis Buckley, Jack Carty and Quinn Roux have become the latest Connacht players to agree contract extensions.

Buckley carty
Inpho

The news follows hooker Tom McCartney's decision to commit to the Irish province for a further three seasons.  

Man fails to have IRA murder conviction overturned

A man convicted of a teenage role in the IRA murder of a 64-year-old Protestant man 40 years ago has failed in a bid to have the verdict overturned. 

High Court
BBC

Judges in the Court of Appeal rejected claims that the circumstances surrounding admissions made by James Gary Roberts rendered the finding unsafe.  

Student who went into labour during exam graduates

Stars join homeless shelter protest

Irish celebrities have lent support to a campaign against homelessness after activists took over an ex-government building and turned it into a shelter.

Appollo House
RTE

Well-known Irish musicians, including Oscar-winner Glen Hansard, Dublin band Kodaline and Hozier, led campaigners in song outside the Dublin building. Apollo House, a former government office block, is empty but there are plans to demolish and redevelop it.

Yellow warning issued for end of week

Midfielder Higgins leaves Coleraine

Coleraine midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins has been released by the club.

Higgins
Press Eye

The former Derry City player joined the Bannsiders in January but has been plagued by injury in recent times.  

Some Omagh bomb evidence to be heard in secret

Belfast's High Court has allowed some evidence connected to the 1998 Omagh bombing to be heard in secret.  

Omagh
AP

The ruling was part of an ongoing legal challenge by the Omagh families to overturn a government decision not to hold a public inquiry into the 1998 atrocity. 

Listen: Cancer drugs access in NI

Music promoter jailed over airport cocaine find

A music promoter from Kilkenny, who was caught at George Best Belfast City Airport trying to smuggle in 10 kilos of cocaine from Peru, has been sentenced to seven years - half of which he will serve in prison.

City Airport
BBC

Shane Delaney, 30, from Delouthry, was stopped after it was noticed his suitcase had come from South American via Madrid and Heathrow. When it was opened, 15 packaged polo shirts wrapped around cocaine were discovered.

Oak of an achievement for Old Homer

Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor's Old Homer has won Northern Ireland Tree of the year

Homer tree
M Cooper/WTML

Now he's ready to put roots down in Europe. Homer, we're all behind yew!

There's a storm brewing - and not at Stormont

£10.6m spent on Civil Service agency staff

Julian O'Neill

BBC News NI Business Correspondent

Stormont spent more than £10m on agency workers in the Northern Ireland Civil Service at a time when it was making redundancies. 

Stormont
Pacemaker

More than 3,300 civil servants left under the voluntary exit scheme, but during that time hundreds of agency workers were hired, at a cost of £10.6m. Details were released by the Department of Finance to TUV leader Jim Allister.  

Londonderry norovirus outbreak 'worst in 30 years'

The Western Health Trust's medical director says a norovirus outbreak at Altnagelvin Hospital is the worst he has experienced in his career of almost 30 years.

Norovirus: Western Trust boss says outbreak 'worst in 30 years'

Dermot Hughes told BBC News NI that vulnerable, elderly patients are most at risk.

Crash on Belfast's Westlink cleared

Gardaí arrest 500 drink drivers so far this Christmas

Rain moving eastwards across NI

Hotel closed due to norovirus outbreak

The Slieve Russell Hotel in County Cavan has closed for a "deep-clean" after an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug among customers and staff.

Slieve Russell hotel
Rick Crowley/CC Geograph

The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) said it was working with the hotel which will "re-open as soon as all possible environmental sources of the virus have been disinfected".

Ulster Herald - DUP supports goldmining firm

Talkback: Former Sinn Fein woman becomes Corbyn aide

M2 lorry being moved after fire

Delays remain on M2