Andrew Nesbitt’s death ‘an absolute tragedy’… tributes paid to Carrick man who died in road accident

Condolences have been paid to the family of Andrew Nesbitt, who died in a single vehicle road crash in Co Antrim on Monday night.

The 55-year-old from the Carrickfergus area passed away following the collision on the Shore Road, Newtownabbey.

It is understood Mr Nesbitt was travelling home from work when the incident occurred.

In a death notice, Mr Nesbitt’s family said he will always be “loved and remembered” and is the devoted son of David and the late Norma, and the loving brother of David, Derek, Lynn and the late Roy.

At approximately 11.10pm on Monday, it was reported to the PSNI that a black Suzuki motorbike was involved in an incident.

Police attended the scene, along with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, where Mr Nesbitt was pronounced dead.

The Alliance Party’s East Antrim MLA, Stewart Dickson, said it was an “absolute tragedy” for Mr Nesbitt’s family and friends.

Police at the scene of a fatal RTC involving a motorbike on the Shore Road, Jordanstown
Police at the scene of a fatal RTC involving a motorbike on the Shore Road, Jordanstown

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North Belfast kidnap bid accused must remain in custody, rules judge

A man accused of trying to bundle a woman into the boot of a car must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled on Monday.

Jonathan Beggs was refused bail amid allegations that he took part in an attack on a North Belfast street. The 30-year-old, of Cultra Street in the city, denies charges of attempted kidnapping and common assault.

Crown lawyer Adrian Higgins claimed the woman was targeted while she walked on Skegoneill Avenue with her boyfriend in the early hours of December 13 last year. A 4×4 vehicle driven by another female stopped abruptly in front of them, with Beggs allegedly getting out and grabbing the injured party by the neck.

The prosecutor contended that the driver shouted out the window “get her into the boot” and passed a kitchen knife to a second man who used it to keep the woman’s boyfriend back. Beggs then allegedly tried to manoeuvre the victim into the rear of the vehicle.

Mr Higgins said she was released after struggling and screaming, with the suspected perpetrators driving off in the 4×4. Before they left Beggs shouted that he knew which school the woman’s children attended and that he would see her there the next morning, it was claimed.

“It’s also alleged that he shouted to the male witness that if he wanted to see a murder he should continue to go with her,” the prosecutor added.

“The victim naturally is particularly upset, distressed and fearful for her own safety and that of her young children.”

Beggs was located and arrested at a house in the Tiger’s Bay area. During interviews he described the complainant’s account as “b******t”, and called the alleged threats “f***ed up”, the court heard.

Defence barrister Sean Mullan insisted serious doubts have been cast over her versions of events.

“This is a case of many layers, and it will be some time before those layers are peeled back and we reveal the kernel of what was behind all of this,” he argued.

Beggs now accepts being at the scene but claims he was attacked at an arranged meeting with the woman and her partner.

“The alleged victim and her boyfriend do not come to this with clean hands,” Mr Mullan added.

“It’s a case that could have many twists and turns.”

But denying bail to Beggs, Mr Justice Shaw cited the risk of any further offences or interference with witnesses. He said: “The accusations levelled against him are serious.”


Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription.
Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/north-belfast-kidnap-bid-accused-19795319

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Beggs presses Minister of Finance on the upgrade of Building Control Regulations to reduce CO2 Emissions

Roy Beggs MLA

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has asked the Minister of Finance when the 2012 building control regulations governing a new building’s energy efficiency requirements will be upgraded to reduce CO2 emissions and the impact on climate change during its life-time.

Finance Minister Murphy MLA responded:

“My Department has put forward an ambitious provisional programme for phased uplifts of the energy efficiency requirements of building regulations as part of the Department for the Economy’s Energy Strategy Options Consultation.

This includes plans for an uplift to the requirements in technical guidance for new buildings within the executive period, which we expect to consult on in the late summer or autumn of this year, subject to Executive approval. The provisional programme proposes further uplifts in 2022/23 and thereafter.”

Commenting further on the issue, Roy Beggs MLA said “Reducing a buildings heat lost and the energy requirements to maintain its temperature is a very practical way to reduce CO2 emission and minimise climate change. This can also reduce fuel poverty. I welcome the forthcoming consultation on building insulation requirements but regret the slow pace of reform. It is best value to improve a new building thermal efficiency when it is being built. It is regrettable that during each month of delay, further homes will be built to older, less efficient building standards.”

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Temporary centres to open to tackle driving test backlog

New temporary centres will open this month to deal with Northern Ireland’s driving test backlog, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has said.

During ministerial question time, the Assembly heard about one case where a young man had passed his theory test in May, but the earliest practical test date he could book was in October.

Theory and practical tests were cancelled when lockdown was re-imposed in Northern Ireland on December 26 and reopened for priority groups in April, before reopening to all in May.

The DUP has consistently challenged the SDLP minister over the backlog, and has stated that more than 20,000 people are waiting for a practical test.

SDLP deputy leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon MLA updated the Assembly on the driving test backlog (Liam McBurney/PA)
SDLP deputy leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon MLA updated the Assembly on the driving test backlog (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Arlene Foster re-appointed First Minister as powersharing returns to Northern Ireland

Updated Jan 11th 2020, 5:05 PM

STORMONT’S FIRST AND deputy first ministers have been appointed after powersharing returned to Northern Ireland.

DUP leader Arlene Foster resumes the first minister role she lost when the last coalition executive collapsed in 2017 while Sinn Féin’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill has become deputy first minister.

Despite the titles, both offices hold equal status in the ministerial executive.

Foster said she was “deeply humbled”. The DUP leader said there was plenty of blame to go around for the three-year powersharing impasse but she insisted it was now time to look to the future.

Significantly, given one of the key disputes at the heart of political crisis, Foster made reference to an Irish language phrase in a speech that stressed the need to work together going forward.

“When I visited Our Lady’s Grammar in Newry, the pupils gave me a lovely picture as a gift,” she said.

“It has hung in my office upstairs ever since, just above my shoulder. In Irish, it states: ‘Together, we are strong’.

“We have many differences. Michelle’s narrative of the past 40 years could not be more different to mine.

“I’m not sure we will ever agree on much about the past, but we can agree there was too much suffering, and that we cannot allow society to drift backwards and allow division to grow.

“Northern Ireland is succeeding in many ways. It’s time for Stormont to move forward and show that ‘together we are stronger’ for the benefit of everyone.”

O’Neill said it was a “defining moment” for Northern Ireland

“After three years without functioning institutions with the five parties forming the new Executive, it is my hope that we do so united in our determination to deliver a stable power-sharing coalition that works on the basis of openness, transparency and accountability, and in good faith and with no surprises,” she said.

“I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of my dear friend and comrade Martin McGuinness taking up the position of deputy first minister, and as joint head of Government I too pledge to follow the example of Martin by actively promoting reconciliation, and building bridges we can all cross to end sectarianism and bigotry.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, meanwhile, said the restoration of powersharing marked a “historic day” for Northern Ireland.

“All parties and politicians in Northern Ireland are to be commended for their decision to put the people they represent first and make measured compromises to reach a deal,” he said.

“I want to thank the Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Secretary of State Julian Smith, and their teams, for the enormous effort and hard work over the last number of months in drafting New Decade, New Approach.

“I look forward to working with representatives in Northern Ireland as they begin working together again on behalf of all people in Northern Ireland,” he added. 

“I am also looking forward to an early meeting of the North South Ministerial Council as part of working with the Northern Ireland executive, in the interest of everyone on this island.”

All five of the main parties will form the region’s new powersharing executive.

Moments before business resumed at Parliament Buildings at lunchtime, the Ulster Unionist Party confirmed it will take up a ministry in the coalition executive while the Alliance Party said it had accepted an invite to fill the justice ministry.

They will join the DUP, Sinn Fein and SDLP in the administration. It marks a significant development as the last executive prior to Stormont’s collapse in 2017 did not include the three smaller parties.

After the landmark deal to restore devolution, the Assembly has returned three years on from the acrimonious collapse of the institutions.

Powersharing returned after the DUP and Sinn Féin, Northern Ireland’s two largest parties, agreed to re-enter a mandatory coalition ministerial executive.

They have both signed up to a deal, tabled by the UK and Irish governments, that offered compromise resolutions to a range of long-standing disputes on issues such as the Irish language.

The endorsement of the two parties was essential for the formation of an executive, as peace process structures mean an administration can only function if it includes the largest unionist party and largest nationalist party.

Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey had been elected as the new speaker of the Assembly.

The rest of the new ministerial executive will be elected later this afternoon. 

The plenary session is scheduled to last for three-and-a-half hours.

The “New Decade, New Approach” deal will also be accompanied by what the UK Government has promised will be a major investment package.

Government funding is set to help tackle a host of acute problems facing a public sector that has been floundering amid the governance vacuum.

One of the most high-profile of those is an industrial dispute in the health service that has seen nurses take strike action on three occasions in the last month.

Under the terms of the deal, the new executive will also take action to reduce spiralling hospital waiting lists; extend mitigation payments for benefit claimants hit by welfare reforms; increase the number of police officers on the beat; and resolve an industrial dispute involving teachers.

The last DUP/Sinn Fein-led coalition government collapsed in January 2017 over a row over a botched green energy scheme.

That row subsequently widened to take in more traditional wrangles on matters such as the Irish language and the thorny legacy of the Troubles.


Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription.
Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://www.thejournal.ie/stormont-assembly-returns-new-deal-4961865-Jan2020/

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