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  1. ITV Report

Is Britain Happy?

900 jobs to go as Northern Ireland cigarette factory closes

The JTI Gallaher plant in Ballymena, Co Antrim, will close between 2016 and 2018. Credit: UTV

A cigarette factory in Northern Ireland is to close with the loss of almost 900 jobs.

The JTI Gallaher plant in Ballymena, Co Antrim has fallen victim to a restructuring programme announced by its Japanese owners Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

The closure is set to take place between 2016 and 2018, JTI announced. JTI's factory in Belgium is also closing, with production shifting to Poland and Romania.

  1. ITV Report

Back Door Britain

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Former Northern Ireland secretary 'backed' paramilitary amnesties

Credit: PA Wire

Former Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid supported a selective and reversible government amnesty scheme for alleged paramilitaries but excluding members of the security forces, a newly-published document revealed.

His May 2001 letter to Tony Blair said distinguishing between deserving and undeserving terrorism suspects would be difficult since all were innocent in the eyes of the law.

He also envisaged having to use special legislation to override resistance to an amnesty law in the House of Lords.

The Labour government had already accepted publicly that discontinuing prosecutions for offences committed before the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement by supporters of organisations on ceasefire would be a "natural development", the note to the Prime Minister said.

The Good Friday Agreement meant anyone convicted of paramilitary crimes was eligible for early release.

However, this did not cover those suspected of such crimes, nor did it include people who had been charged or convicted but who had escaped from prison.

Lewis MP: 'Catastrophic' error in John Downey case

The Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said Theresa Villiers was right to apologise at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee today, describing a 'catastrophic' error in the John Downey case.

Ivan Lewis MP. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

[Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers] was right to apologise to the family and friends of the Hyde Park victims following the catastrophic error made in the John Downey case. I am also pleased that she was very robust in making it clear that these letters never offered any of their recipients an amnesty from prosecution. This was also the conclusion of the Hallett review. However, at a time when stability in Northern Ireland is so fragile it is essential the government is clear and unambiguous about its response to sensitive issues

– Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ivan Lewis MP
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