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Summary

  1. Assembly continues after Stormont's collapse, with election set for 2 March
  2. MLAs approve cost-cutting measures for botched RHI scheme
  3. Shooting of policeman in Belfast discussed as matter of the day
  4. SDLP proposal for talks on values of Good Friday Agreement supported
  5. MLAs back motion calling for redress for abuse victims after HIA report
  6. Education Minister Peter Weir faces MLAs at assembly Question Time
  7. Economy Committee briefed on plan to reduce cost of RHI scheme

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Iain McDowell

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight!

    It's been a very long day at Stormont, so congratulations if you've stuck with us since the Economy Committee kicked off at 09:30.

    No prizes we're afraid, but you can consider yourselves slapped on the back.

    Stormont's Parliament Buildings

    Tomorrow is another big day, with the final plenary session before the assembly breaks up for the elections on 2 March.

    Matters for discussion include reaches of the ministerial code, bail policy in terrorism cases and... cavity wall insulation, so join us in the morning at 10:30.

    Goodnight from the few of us left up here on Stormont hill!

  2. UUP's Hussey resigns as MLA

    Ross Hussey

    In a final bit of business before adjourning the assembly, Deputy Speaker Danny Kennedy tells members that Ulster Unionist Ross Hussey has resigned as an MLA with immediate effect.

  3. MLAs approve motion on HIA inquiry report

    Winding the motion on the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry, the SDLP's Richie McPhillips thanks Sir Anthony Hart for compiling the report.

    He also says the people and groups who "tirelessly campaigned for justice for the victims of historical abuse" deserve credit and due recognition.

    MLAs in the assembly

    The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA says vindication has finally arrived for those victims, he says.

    The motion is passed unopposed on an oral vote.

    Deputy Speaker Danny Kennedy takes what he calls the "unusual step" of acknowledging on behalf of the house the "presence and the dignity" of the victims in the public who have attended the debate.

  4. 'Victims deserve more than half-empty chamber'

    "Given the gravity of the HIA report it is now time for action," says Alliance Party MLA Chris Lyttle.

    In the absence of first and deputy first ministers he says he would have liked to see the justice minister or health minister to reply to "this extremely important debate".

    Claire Bailey of the Green Party says abuse victims have "fought and they have suffered and they have struggled to be believed and heard for most of their lives" in their campaigns.

    Claire Bailey

    "And it's still not resolved," she adds as she tells her fellow MLAs: "This whole suffering is our entire shame."

    Ms Bailey says the victims "deserve more than a half-empty chamber and a non-existent executive".

    People Before Profit's Eamonn McCann says some DUP MLAs' use of the issue of abuse victims to attack Sinn Féin during this debate is "inappropriate".

  5. 'Victims left in limbo by absent executive'

    Abuse victims have got "anything but certainty" as the recommendations contained within the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry report have been "left in limbo", Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs says.

    "They have been handed to the Executive Office at a time when we don't have a first or deputy first minister in place to take them forward," he adds.

    A copy of the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry report

    "What a legacy are we as an assembly and politicians giving?"

    He calls on "what remains of the executive" to be "honest" to victims in these, its final days: "Tell them what you can and cannot deliver."

  6. 'Executive will fulfill obligations to abuse victims'

    Sinn Féin's Pat Sheehan says that all the victims and survivors that came forward and "shone a light on the suffering of children and young people in care", and future generations of children will be safer because of their actions.

    Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (below) intervenes to say the executive "will fulfill our obligations to those who suffered".

    Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

    The DUP's William Irwin says "the absolute focus must always remain on the victims".

    He says they need to know that "Northern Ireland recognises their pain and wants to lessen that pain".

  7. 'Churches should give redress to their victims'

    Any church that had involvement in historical abuse of children should be "made to use their assets to bring redress to the people who suffered under their care", the DUP's Christoper Stalford says.

    A Bible

    "The churches are some of the wealthiest organisations in this land in terms of the vast reserves of land and property that they sit upon," the South Belfast MLA adds.

  8. 'No more talking - time for action for victims'

    Acknowledging the abuse victims who are watching this evening's debate from the public gallery, SDLP MLA Claire Hanna "commends "those who had the bravery to tell their story".

    "We hope they do feel vindicated and everybody in this chamber has to finish the job and deliver the redress and support that Sir Anthony Hart (below, centre) made clear they're entitled to," she adds.

    Sir Anthony Hart

    Paula Bradshaw (above) of the Alliance Party says the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry report will be one of "many, many others left awaiting urgent attention from the new executive whenever it gets up and running".

    It is "incumbent", she tells MLAs, for everyone who is elected in March to "push for the recommendations of the report to be implemented immediately.

    "No more talking - time for action."

  9. 'Important thing for victims is acknowledgement'

    Sinn Féin's Linda Dillon says that after speaking to some of the victims she has learned "the important thing" that they wanted was the "acknowledgement" of what they had suffered.

    Linda Dillon

    "It was the recognition that they were the innocent victims, that they hadn't done anything wrong," she adds.

    The Mid Ulster MLA says she has a close personal connection to the subject as her husband's mother had been abused by nuns at Nazareth House in Belfast "from the age of four to eight-years-old".

  10. 'Retelling of stories highly traumatic for victims'

    Edwin Poots of the DUP says that five years ago someone came into his office to report acts of abuse at Rathgael Training School in Bangor, County Down.

    He praises the people who went to the inquiry to tell their stories even though it was "hugely traumatic" for them to do so.

    MLAs in the assembly

    Mr Poots gives some examples of the abuse suffered by children, saying that one boy at Rathgael was thrown into the sea off a pier, which caused him to have flashbacks in later life and resulting in an early death.

    Another victim, he says, was a young girl who was sent to Nazareth House, where she was sexually abused, made to clean blocked toilets with her bare hands and to forced bathe in bleach.

  11. 'Ultimate obscenity of failure of executive'

    UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, who chairs the Executive Office Committee, opens the abuse inquiry debate by saying that the inquiry "represents these institutions working at their best".

    Mr Nesbitt says that at the launch of the report last week Sir Anthony Hart referred to systemic failures "41 times".

    Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry

    The implementation of the report's recommendations "is now just out of reach" as the Executive Office is effectively closed, Mr Nesbitt says.

    That, he adds, is "the ultimate obscenity about the failure of Stormont Castle".

  12. MLAs debate Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry report

    The next item of business is a motion on the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry report, which was published last Friday.

    The motion is being brought jointly by the UUP, SDLP, Alliance Party and the Green Party, and says the assembly "deplores that political impasse means that the report is not being actioned".

    A child sitting with his head in his hands

    The inquiry, chaired by Sir Anthony Hart, studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.

    It recommended compensation, a memorial and a public apology to abuse survivors.

    Sir Anthony said a tax-free lump sum payment should be made to all survivors, including in homes and institutions that were not covered by the inquiry.

  13. MLAs approve SDLP motion on Good Friday Agreement

    Drawing the debate on her party's motion calling for all-party talks on the values and principles of the Good Friday Agreement to a close, the SDLP's Claire Hanna says the agreement is driven by those people who "see power-sharing as a virtue".

    "To make it work, we have to restore that mutual trust," the South Belfast MLA says.

    "We haven't seen that trust build up over the last 20 years, but we believe it still can."

    Claire Hanna

    Green Party leader Steven Agnew's amendment is defeated on an oral vote.

    And the SDLP motion is backed by MLAs, with 55 voting in favour of it and 31 against.

  14. DUP MLAs' family links to RHI scheme revealed

    BBC News Northern Ireland

    An internal DUP audit has revealed that two more of the party's MLAs have family ties to beneficiaries of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

    In a statement, the DUP says the husband of Upper Bann representative Carla Lockhart's sister-in-law is claiming a subsidy on the green energy initiative.

    Carla Lockhart and William Irwin

    The party also says its Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin's son-in-law is is availing of the scheme.

    "Neither MLA was involved in lobbying for these individuals and neither has any financial or other interests in the farms concerned," the party adds.

  15. 'People think Stormont can do better'

    Summing up his amendment to the motion, Green Party leader Steven Agnew explains that the current Stormont crisis is the fourth he has witnessed since he entered full-time politics in 2007.

    Carson's statue at Stormont

    He finishes by saying: "People are looking at Stormont thinking: 'I could do better we could do better.'

    "I agree with them - let's give them the chance."

  16. 'Agreement's fundamental principles watered down'

    "Eyes have been taken off the ball on some of the fundamental issues" in the Good Friday Agreement, Alliance Party veteran David Ford says.

    David Ford

    There has been a "watering down" of some of the fundamental principles of the 1998 peace deal, particularly in the St Andrews Agreement in 2006.

    The South Antrim MLA says he is proud of what he did during his time as Stormont's justice minister, but he is "certainly not proud of how this assembly has bee treated by the executive" during this mandate.

  17. 'DUP believe they're returning to unionist state'

    John O'Dowd of Sinn Féin says it seems the DUP believe they are "almost returning to a unionist state".

    "The only way government is going to operate in this state is under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement," he says.

    John O'Dowd

    Richie McPhillips says his party, the SDLP, was born out of the civil rights movement.

    The agreement "was meant to provide stability", he says, adding that the assembly "has yet to achieve its legislative spurs".

  18. 'Institutions collapsed when Sinn Féin got selfish'

    DUP MLA Philip Logan says his party has "made a huge effort in trying to move Northern Ireland in the right direction".

    Stormont's Parliament Buildings

    That has been in spite of having to "hold our nose" while dealing with Sinn Féin, he says, a party that DUP MLAs do not relish doing business with.

    He says the progress in the past 10 years has been "slow and laboured" that it was progress nonetheless, but it was undone when Sinn Féin started to "get selfish".

  19. 'Stormont broken when MLAs resile from agreement's concepts'

    It is "fairly ironic" that the MLAs are debating the principles and values of Good Friday Agreement in the death throes of this assembly, Alex Maskey says.

    The Sinn Féin MLA says that part of the reason why Stormont has collapsed is that power-sharing concept in the agreement has not been adhered "in regard to the DUP", he explains.

    Alex maskey

    All parties made "major compromises" in putting the agreement together, the West Belfast representative adds.

    And Mr Maskey tells his fellow MLAs: "When people resile from the concept of sharing power and treating people mutual with respect and afford equality to other citizens, that's when we become not fit-for-purpose and not fit to be in position."