July 24, 2020
Health Ministers must realise the virtue of All-Island approach to tackling COVID-19

Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has urged the Minister of Health to build on the memorandum of understanding with his southern counterpart to help address the lack of consistency between north and south in the response to COVID-19, including travel restrictions.

The party’s Health Spokesperson said:

“The groundwork for working in an island wide basis has already been laid with the signing of the MOU in April. It is vital that this is used to its full potential.

“I am glad to see the Minister Swann has made contact with his southern counterpart regarding concerns on travel restrictions and the divergence of measures across these islands.

“Sinn Féin have been consistently urging both departments of health to realise the unique advantage of being on an island in protecting people against the pandemic. 

“Unfortunately, the opportunity to tackle affectively tackle COVID-19 as an island has not been fully utilised due to political sensitivities rather than focusing on public health imperatives.

“I would urge the Minister to set out clearly how he will engage with Health Minister Donnelly in Dublin to address the need for a consistent joined up response, including with regards to travel restrictions, before we face into the autumn and winter with the increasing challenges that presents.” 

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