A British Army veteran who served in NI during the Troubles is 54x more likely to be prosecuted?

CLAIM: A British Army veteran who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles is 54 times more likely than a Republican or Loyalist paramilitary to be prosecuted for alleged offences pre-dating the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Prosecutions to date suggest that ex-British Army personnel have been the subject of cases five times more than Republican and Loyalist suspects. The cited ratio of 54 times “more likely” was based on a snapshot of live prosecutions and takes no account of previous cases. Continue reading A British Army veteran who served in NI during the Troubles is 54x more likely to be prosecuted?

Checking online images in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, where political, social and economic debate is often delineated along lines of perceived communal affiliation, false information and rumours have the potential to increase communal division and tensions, especially at particular times of the year. 

Images play a big part in the types of information shared online here, and it is sometimes difficult to figure out whether an image on the internet is genuinely what it claims to be. There’s a “stickiness” to images, and they can communicate and infer so much more than a 280 character tweet. To paraphrase the old saying — a fake/misleading image can make its way halfway around Northern Ireland, while the accurate information is still putting on its shoes! 

So what can we do? Many of us feel we are not tech savvy or simply do not have the time to check every image we see online or receive via WhatsApp. Continue reading Checking online images in Northern Ireland

Lateral flow device tests for COVID-19

Two biological tests are being used in the UK to control the spread of COVID-19: (1) the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR, or PCR) test; and (2) the lateral flow device (LFD) test. 

PCR tests tend to be used for people showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, while LFD tests are used for more widespread testing, including identifying asymptomatic people (who do not show symptoms but may be carrying the virus).

This article explains current understanding around LFD tests for COVID-19. FactCheckNI has previously published an article that looked in detail at PCR tests. Continue reading Lateral flow device tests for COVID-19

Pets and the Northern Ireland Protocol

Background: worries about Brexit and pets

Before the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, FactCheckNI published a fact check on the claim that pet owners travelling from Northern Ireland to Ireland already required “EU pet passports”. We found this claim to be accurate.

Now that the UK has withdrawn from the EU, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (“the Northern Ireland Protocol”) is in operation. The Protocol affects the movement of goods and services between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This article sets out to explain the current understanding in regards to the transport of pets between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Continue reading Pets and the Northern Ireland Protocol

Are business rates in Larne the same as Regent Street in London?

CLAIM: Business rates on Main Street in Larne are the same as Regent Street in London.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Higher property values in Regent Street mean that average rates are much higher there than Main Street in Larne. Continue reading Are business rates in Larne the same as Regent Street in London?

Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?

CLAIM: Three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. The claim that three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union is based on evidence from a research survey commissioned on behalf of the University of Liverpool. It found that 76.9% of respondents who are non-voters who stated a constitutional preference chose “to remain part of the UK”.  FactCheckNI has not found evidence of other surveys recording constitutional preferences of non-voters, but future surveys may provide more information about this cohort. Continue reading Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?