Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

By Iain McDowell and Robin Sheeran

All times stated are UK

  1. The assembly returns next week...

    That was a busy few hours in the chamber - thanks for following the action with Stormont Live.

    The assembly returns on Monday and we'll bring you minute-by-minute coverage of the proceedings.

    Parliament Buildings at Stormont

    BBC News NI will keep you updated on the week's political developments until then.

    Goodbye for now!

  2. Minister makes £30m pay offer to health workers

    BBC News NI

    Health Minister Robin Swann has said pay parity for Northern Ireland health workers can be restored.

    He told the assembly it would cost an extra £30m that would come from existing Stormont finances.

    Video content

    Video caption: Robin Swann confirms pay package for nurses and health workers

    Mr Swann met trade unions this morning to brief them on the decision and described talks as "constructive".

    He said: "The breakthrough that we all wanted has been achieved - this is a good day after some very difficult days."

    Read more here: Minister makes pay pledge to workers

  3. Eighteen schools to receive upgrade funds

    BBC News NI

    Eighteen schools across Northern Ireland are to receive building improvements worth about £45m between them.

    Making the announcement in the assembly today, Education Minister Peter Weir said the improvements are the latest to be funded under the School Enhancement Programme (SEP).

    A school classroom

    The scheme provides money for parts of schools to be rebuilt rather than entire new school buildings.

    Read more here: Schools to receive improvements funding

  4. DUP's Stalford elected as principal deputy speaker

    If you were following us earlier you'll remember there were technical difficulties during the vote to appoint the assembly's new principal deputy speaker.

    Christoper Stalford - the DUP MLA - was nominated, members voted on that proposal and we're finally finding out the result.

    Christoper Stalford

    Of the 80 MLAs who voted, 49 backed Mr Stalford for the job.

    Speaker Alex Maskey congratulates the South Belfast representative on his election as his main deputy.

    And with that the assembly adjourns for the day.

  5. 'I apologise personally to health workers'

    Green Party leader Claire Bailey asks if the health dispute could've been resolved before the resumption of the executive.

    Robin Swann says he doesn't think the £79m package could have been put together without a minister in place, adding: "We put our departmental officials in an insidious position - a position they shouldn't be."

    The health minister says civil servants are there to deliver on decisions, not to take decisions themselves.

    Robin Swann speaking in the assembly

    TUV leader Jim Allister wants an apology for the actions of the executive in breaking pay parity in the first place.

    Mr Swann says he's not in a position to apologise for the decisions of a previous executive but he's personally he apologised to the health workers that they were left in a position where they felt they had to strike.

  6. 'I've had extraordinary treatment from outstanding staff'

    The SDLP veteran John Dallat has been receiving treatment at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry and he rises to make an emotional contribution.

    He says the care he's received has been "extraordinary" from "outstanding doctors and nurses and he calls for a guarantee that health staff will never be made to feel "so demoralised that they feel the need to join the picket lines".

    John Dallat

    Health Minister Robin Swann says it's good to see Mr Dallat in the chamber: "You're looking well."

    And he adds: "We should never have allowed our health service and our nurses to be pushed to a point where industrial action was the only thing they saw as an option as to how they get the message across."

  7. 'Parties supporting me to sort health service'

    There's been support from all of the executive parties to sort out the health service in Northern Ireland, says Robin Swann (below).

    His job as health minister is probably the biggest, most demanding one at Stormont, particularly given the long list of pressing issues in his in-tray.

    Robin Swann

    He says it requires a "collegiate" approach to improve the health service and "so far I've been appreciated of that".

    He jokingly adds: "It's three days in so we're doing not too bad!"

  8. 'Mental health care at centre of our service'

    Former firefighter Robbie Butler - who quit that job to take a seat in the assembly in 2016 - shows solidarity with health workers, saying he knows their decision go on strike was the "most difficult thing you will ever do".

    A placard that reads: Mental health matters

    The Ulster Unionist MLA wants a commitment from the minister to attract staff into mental health services.

    Health Minister Robin Swann tells the assembly he's considering a mental health action plan to put the issue at the "centre" of the health service.

  9. 'Massive degree of optimism required from minister'

    The DUP's Paula Bradley (below) - a former Health Committee chair - is glad to hear Robin Swann say he's optimistic because she says any health minister needs a "massive degree of optimism".

    Carál NíChuilín of Sinn Féin says her party is concerned that by using staffing agencies the Department of Health is putting public money into private companies, effectively privatising a service that needs to be free at the point of delivery.

    Paula Bradley

    Mr Swann assures he's taking her point on board and he says he remembers how the member treated him when she was a Stormont minister.

    "It wasn't too bad, to be fair," he jokes.

  10. 'I want more permanent staff employed in health service'

    Sinn Féin's Colm Gildernew - the new chair of the Health Committee - asks Robin Swann to commit to working closely with trade unions in the time ahead.

    The health minister says he's re-establishing the Strategic Health Partnership Forum, which will give the unions and trust leaders direct access to his office.

    Gary Middleton of the DUP asks about the proposed medical school at Ulster University's Magee campus in Londonderry, which the minister says is a priority for the new executive.

    Ulster University's Magee campus

    Reducing the bill for agency staff and locums is top of the list for the SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan.

    Mr Swann says that bill has tripled in the past five years and his preference is for more permanent staff to be employed in the health service.

    But he says patient safety is paramount and use of agency staff reflects that.

  11. 'Achieving safe staffing levels a long-term endeavour'

    As well as pay, safe staffing has also been a big issue for workers in the Northern Ireland health service, acknowledges Robin Swann.

    The health minister says he knows workers and unions will only end their strike and industrial action if they are convinced safe staffing levels can be achieved.

    Health workers on strike outside the Mater Hospital in Belfast

    He therefore promises his officials will work with unions to draw up a plan to sort that out "within a reasonable period of time" but it'll be a "long-term endeavour".

    Mr Swann adds that he hopes the workers' action will be brought to a "swift end".

    "The breakthrough that we all wanted has been achieved - this is a good day after some very difficult days."

  12. Pay parity to be restored in health workers' dispute

    Pay parity for health workers in Northern Ireland is to be restored, says Health Minister Robin Swann (below).

    He explains his department had gathered together £79m to increase pay for health workers to give them the same wage as colleagues in England and an extra £30m would be pulled from existing finances at Stormont.

    Robin Swann

    He points out that the money hasn't been the result of anything additional offered to Northern Ireland by the government.

    Mr Swann met trade unions this morning to tell them about the decision and he describes that as having been "constructive".

    The unions will speak to health department officials tomorrow to iron out the deal, which the minister says is guaranteed until 2021.

  13. 'Health pay row left patients waiting too long'

    New Health Minister Robin Swann is up now - he's come to the assembly to report on attempts to resolve the health workers' dispute.

    Thousands of nurses and healthcare workers in Northern Ireland have taken part in industrial action since November over pay parity and staffing.

    Nurses on a picket line

    Mr Swann says too many patients have been kept waiting for too long and staff have become deeply frustrated, while the circumstances that led to the dispute are "deeply regrettable".

    The unions had warned if there was no resolution then industrial action would escalate.

  14. 'Why no upgrades for North Antrim schools?'

    Jim Allister isn't happy - not one school in the controlled sector in his North Antrim constituency is on the list to receive upgrade funding through the School Enhancement Programme (SEP).

    The TUV leader says that's in sharp contrast to the situation in Education Minister Peter Weir's past and present constituencies of North Down and Strangford, in which four such schools are due to benefit.

    Jim Allister

    Mr Weir responds with a barb: "It would be perhaps surprising if the member wasn't expressing some level of disappointment at whatever was being said."

    He goes on to say that 10 of the 18 schools on the list are from the controlled sector.

    He insists he didn't interfere with the process for selecting which schools benefit from the SEP, explaining that it's done in a fair and objective way.

  15. 'No Irish-medium schools on investment list'

    Seán Lynch

    Sinn Féin's Seán Lynch (above) says he's disappointed there are no Irish language medium schools on the list for funding, although it may be that none applied.

    Education Minister Peter Weir says the criteria are entirely objective - the only divisions are between primary, post-primary and some special schools.

  16. 'Can schools get upgrades and apply for rebuild?'

    Caoimhe Archibald

    Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald (above) wants to know if applying for the School Enhancement Programme (SEP) will affect a school's application for major capital work.

    After a quick check with an official, Education Minister Peter Weir says if a school receives SEP funding there's normally a seven-year delay before it can benefit from major capital funding for a new build for instance.

  17. 'I'll have to clone myself for school visits'

    The UUP's Roy Beggs wants to know about school amalgamations and mergers, which he says can improve educational results and also make savings for the Department of Education.

    Education Minister Peter Weir says mergers can have big upfront costs, particularly where schools are split between multiple sites.

    Dolly the sheep

    The DUP's Trevor Clarke is one of numerous MLAs requesting a ministerial visit to specific schools in their constituencies.

    The minister says if he visits them all he may have to adopt the cloning technology of Dolly the sheep (above) in order to be in several places at the one time.