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Abuse victims hold march for justice at Stormont

Victims and survivers held a march at Stormont on Monday. Credit: Pacemaker

A march has taken place at Stormont calling for justice for the victims of institutional child abuse.

Campaigners handed in letters to party leaders at Stormont Castle demanding that the recommendations of a four-year inquiry into state and church abuse are delivered.

The political impasse has meant that the findings and recommendations of the HIA Inquiry have still not been presented to the Assembly.

"Our hopes have been built up so many times and we feel so let down,” said Margaret McGuckin of the campaign group SAVIA.

“We were vindicated by the inquiry and then the government collapsed.

"We want to say to the politicians 'let us have some form of a life'. We don't know if we have got tomorrow. Many of us are mentally and emotionally damaged.

"We are pleading with our government to get together and show they care. Let justice be done. Set up this redress scheme."

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MPs to debate legislation to extend NI talks

James Brokenshire is expected to make a statement.

Legislation to extend the deadline for agreeing a new power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland will be debated by MPs.

It would give parties until 29 June to reach an agreement and would also clear the way for the collection of rates.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire is expected to make a statement at Westminster on Monday.

Green Party to discuss anti-Brexit electoral pact

Steven Agnew said his party will meet over the weekend. Credit: UTV

The Green Party will meet on Saturday to discuss the possibility of entering into an election pact with other anti-Brexit parties.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has been vocal about approaching other parties about forming an alliance ahead of the General Election.

Sinn Féin have also been open to the idea.

Green leader Steven Agnew said: “I’m going to speak to my party tomorrow to see if there is any interest in continuing these discussions and take it from there.

“We haven’t discussed constituencies or anything like that, so I think we have to make a decision as a party over whether it’s worth continuing those discussions.”

Meanwhile the Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long ruled out the idea, saying: "My response to any suggestion of a pact will be 'no'."

RHI judge to give update at preliminary hearing

A preliminary hearing will take place on Thursday next week. Credit: UTV

A preliminary hearing into the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme will take place next week.

Chairman of the probe, retired appeal court judge Sir Patrick Coghlin, will outline details about how the inquiry is gathering evidence.

He will also introduce his panel team and outline the work undertaken by the inquiry team so far.

The hearing will take place at Stormont at 11am on Thursday.

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Brokenshire publishes legislation to extend talks and deal with NI rates

The Secretary of State has confirmed the new deadline for talks aimed at restoring a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland will be late June.

James Brokenshire published legislation on Friday providing an extension to the period in which a new Executive could be formed.

Parties now have until Thursday 29 June to reach agreement in crucial political talks.

The emergency legislation also clears the way for the collection of rates in Northern Ireland.

The bill provides for the setting of a regional rate, enabling household bills to be issued in their usual cycle of ten monthly payments.

The rate for 2017-2018 will be increased in line with inflation.

James Brokenshire said: “Since the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March our focus has been on re-establishing inclusive, devolved government.

“The forthcoming UK General Election does not change that.

This bill will therefore enable an Executive to be formed in the coming days should an agreement be reached.

– James Brokenshire

"However, if an agreement is not possible before the General Election, it is right that we provide flexibility for an incoming Government to act in the best interests of NI and the space for the parties to conclude a deal.

“This bill gives the parties the legal authority to convene the Assembly, appoint ministers and get on with the resumption of devolved government at any point up to 29 June.

"This is what the people of Northern Ireland voted for on 2 March, and should remain the focus in the weeks ahead.”

Westminster election adds to uncertainty facing Stormont

  • WATCH: Ken Reid reports from London

Amid the countdown to a snap General Election, the focus in Northern Ireland has now turned to whether or not pacts will be formed.

UTV Political Editor Ken Reid has been following developments in London, while talks resumed at Stormont to try to find a resolution to the impasse.

It had been hoped that the Easter break would provide some breathing space and clarity to help restore power-sharing.

However, given the continued uncertainty, many are now asking if there will be not one but two elections in Northern Ireland.

  • WATCH: Sharon O'Neill reports on the latest at Stormont
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