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Peter Robinson: 'Business will not be as usual' in NI

There will be no further meetings of Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive - unless there are "exceptional" circumstances - amid a political crisis over the alleged shooting of a man by the Provisional IRA.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson has said "business will not be as usual" until the situation is resolved "satisfactorily".

Father-of-nine Kevin McGuigan was shot outside his home in Belfast, last month, in what is believed to be a revenge attack.

Kevin McGuigan was shot at point blank range in what is thought to be a revenge attack. Credit: PA

Mr Robinson added: "In my view the Assembly is not fit for purpose as it stands today.

"Leaving aside the issue of the Kevin McGuigan murder it still wasn't fit for purpose. So, those issues have to be resolved.

"Unless those issues are resolved we will not have a functioning Assembly and we made it very clear without a resolution to these matters in the talks process our ministers' resignations will follow."

Crisis talks led by the British and Irish governments are due to begin at Stormont on Tuesday.

'No further' NI executive meetings amid crisis over IRA

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson Credit: PA

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson has said there will be "no further" meetings of its power-sharing executive until the political crisis over the IRA is resolved.

The Democratic Unionists had failed in a bid for a four-week adjournment of the Assembly after police said members of the Provisional IRA shot a man dead in East Belfast.

But Mr Robinson said it could not be business as usual as members return from their summer break today.


Bodies found in search for IRA Disappeared

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains work at the scene. Credit: PA

The remains of more than one body have been found in a search for three of the IRA Disappeared.

A dig on reclaimed bogland unearthed one body during a search for the remains of former monk Joe Lynskey in the Irish Republic.

More remains were discovered as further excavations took place on the farmland in Coghalstown, Co Meath. The bodies are yet to be identified.

Mr Lynskey was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972.

Joe Lynskey was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972. Credit: PA

England fans sing anti-IRA songs in Italy

England fans sang anti-IRA songs during Tuesday's friendly in Italy despite efforts from the Football Association to stamp the chants out in the wake of last year's match in Scotland.

A view of the England fans in Turin on Tuesday night.

England fans caused controversy last November when they chanted "F*** the IRA" during the 3-1 victory at Celtic Park.

Even though the FA liaised with fan groups after the Scotland game to try to prevent such chants happening again, they were heard during England's 1-1 draw at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Tuesday.

Any repeat during England's next match against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on June 7 would lead to yet more criticism.

After the win in Scotland, the FA made it clear it was unhappy about the chants.

We apologise for any offence caused by a section of the England support at the match with Scotland. The FA does not condone inappropriate and offensive chanting and intends to meet with supporters' groups to discuss the wider issues.

We have consistently urged supporters to show respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others - particularly from a religious or political perspective.

– FA spokesman after the match in Glasgow

Tony Blair to give evidence to IRA 'On the Runs' inquiry

Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Tony Blair is due to give evidence before a parliamentary investigation into the On The Runs (OTRs) scheme for fugitive IRA members later today.

The former prime minister's Labour administration sent about 200 letters to republicans assuring them they were not being pursued by the UK authorities following requests from Sinn Fein.

An investigation was launched by MPs when the prosecution of a man for the murder of four soldiers during an explosion in Hyde Park in 1982 was halted after he received one of the letters in error.

The OTR letters scheme began while Mr Blair was premier, and the chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has said he is one of the most important witnesses to the inquiry.

A spokesman for the committee said Mr Blair had confirmed he would be attending a sitting today.

Mr Blair was a key architect of the Good Friday Agreement, which led to IRA arms decommissioning and the establishment of a devolved power-sharing administration at Stormont.


Thatcher government pardoned IRA man who fled jail

An IRA man who escaped prison more than 50 years ago was given a royal pardon by Margaret Thatcher's government, official records from 1985 revealed.

Donal Donnelly fled Belfast's Crumlin Road jail - which he dubbed Europe's Alcatraz - on Boxing Day 1960 while serving a sentence for membership of the armed group during its 1950s border campaign.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Douglas Hurd agreed to pardon Donnelly. Credit: PA

Former Northern Ireland secretary Lord Hurd, part of a Conservative government scarred by republican violence, agreed to use the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in May 1985.

His decision was made ahead of landmark political talks on British co-operation with the Irish Government.

Afterwards Donnelly lived openly in the Irish Republic - and even wrote a book about his escape.

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