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Draw held for Irish Cup fifth round

Credit: UTV

The draw for the fifth round of the Irish Cup was made on Tuesday at Windsor Park.

Teams from the Premiership and Championship enter the competition at this round, so there could be a chance of a giant killing.

UTV sports reporter Simon McIntyre has more.

Tennent's Irish Cup fifth round fixtures (Matches to be played on Saturday, 6 January)

Loughgall v PSNI Coleraine v Lisburn Distillery Carrick Rangers v Glenavon Larne v Dergview Crusaders v Maiden City Queen's University v Dundela Newry City v H&W Welders Cliftonville v Warrenpoint Town Portadown v Ballyclare Comrades Dungannon Swifts v Limavady United Linfield v Glebe Rangers Knockbreda v Institute Ballinamallard United v Immaculata Lurgan Celtic v Glentoran Ballymena United v Moyola Park Ards v Crumlin Star

Three arrested in Strabane in dissident probe

Credit: Presseye

Three people have been arrested in Strabane as part of an ongoing investigation into violent dissident republican activity.

Two women, aged 43 and 50 and a 47-year-old man were arrested and are now being at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite

Detectives from the PSNI's Terrorism Investigation Unit, along with Territorial Support Group officers, conducted several house searches in the west Tyrone town.

They seized a number of items including cash, suspected counterfeit goods and firearms.


Man arrested in prison officer murder probe

Credit: PSNI/PA Wire

A 41-year-old man has been arrested in Armagh in connection with the 2012 murder of prison officer David Black.

The man had been extradited from the Republic of Ireland following a ruling by the High Court in Dublin earlier this month.

David Black was gunned down by suspected dissident republicans in a motorway ambush, as he drove to work at the high-security Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim.

He was arrested on four warrants for offences of aiding and abetting murder; membership of a proscribed organisation; commissioning and instigating preparatory acts of terrorism; and committing and assisting acts of terrorism.

He appeared before magistrates in Armagh on Tuesday and was remanded in custody until 12 January 2018.

Ryanair pilots planning pre-Christmas strike

Ryanair customers have been warned they may face disruption to pre-Christmas flights as around a quarter of its Dublin-based pilots go on strike.

The one-day industrial action will take place on Wednesday 20 December and mostly involves captains.

Trade union Impact said the dispute was about winning independent representation for pilots in the company.

The union warned the strike would either disrupt flights or generate substantial costs for the airline.

Pilots from the Irish Airline Pilots' Association backed the industrial action overwhelmingly during secret ballots.

Although the action involves around 80 of the 300 plus Dublin-based Ryanair pilots, Impact says it will cause disruption because planes cannot legally or safely fly without a captain.

The company said it was surprised by the decision of less than 28% of Dublin based pilots to strike, when Ryanair's Belfast, Cork and Shannon bases had already agreed these 20% pay deals.

In a statement, Ryanair said its pilots are free to join a union, the company is also free, under both Irish and EU law, to decline to engage with (competitor pilot) unions.

Impact official Ashley Connolly said Ryanair was the only Irish-based airline that refuses to recognise independent pilot representatives.

"Management's failed negotiating model has let down shareholders and tens of thousands of passengers, whose flights were cancelled this year because company-controlled industrial relations proved incapable of recruiting and retaining enough pilots.

"This dispute is about securing a safe space for negotiations, with independent representation that pilots can have confidence in."

Ryanair said they will deal with any disruptions "if, or when they arise", and have apologised to customers in advance of any delays.


Easyjet announces new Belfast routes

Low-cost carrier easyjet has announced three new flight routes will begin operating from Northern Ireland next summer.

New services to the Isle of Man, Naples and Valencia from Belfast International will run from summer 2018.

This brings the total number of easyJet routes operating out of Belfast to 31.

The new flights to Italy and Spain will run twice weekly throughout the summer and the Isle of Man route will continue throughout the year.

Ali Gayward, easyJet's UK country manager, said, "we have been committed to Belfast airport for over 18 years. We are proud to have carried over 50 million passengers in that time."

Graham Keddie, managing director at Belfast International Airport, said, "The addition of twice weekly year-round jet services on key days to the Isle of Man will offer genuine opportunity to grow the market between Northern Ireland and Isle of Man".

"Naples and Valencia are likewise two welcome easyJet additions to the departure boards at Belfast International offering high consumer demand."

Swan killed with crossbow, police investigating

The images were posted on a wildlife rescue group on Facebook Credit: Facebook/Debbie Doolittle Wild Life

A swan has been killed in what appears to be a crossbow attack close to Antrim Forum.

On Monday night, upon receiving a call, police and a vet went to the scene and attempted to save the bird, but it had moved into open water and could not be retrieved.

A post on Facebook page Debbie Doolittle's Wild Life confirmed the swan had been found dead on the Loughshore bank.

police have the swan and the crossbow bolt which has been examined as part of the investigation Credit: Pacemaker

Antrim police have appealed for information.

Local Alliance councillor Neil Kelly said he is "appalled" by the incident.

“It is disgusting someone would apparently attack a defenceless animal and in such a way," he said.

“The seeming use of such a serious weapon as a crossbow lends this incident an even more sinister edge. This vile brutality towards animals should have no place in a decent society and it’s difficult to comprehend the mind of someone who would willingly partake in such behaviour."

He encouraged anyone with information to contact police.

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