March 14, 2020
O’Neill calls for an all-island approach to deal with Coronavirus

Joint Head of Government Michelle O’Neill has called for an all-island approach to dealing with the COVID-19 following a meeting of Ministers from north and south. 

Michelle O’Neill said:

“This morning I attended a meeting in Armagh along with other Executive Ministers, the acting Taoiseach and Tanáiste and the Chief Medical Officers.

“Throughout the meeting, I pressed the need for an all-island approach to tackle COVID19.

“I did so not on the basis of politics, but on the basis of advancing the most effective approach to protect all citizens on this island.

“30,000 people cross the border on a daily basis for school, for business purposes and to visit family. 

“Towns and villages straddle the border from one home to the next. 

“It is unacceptable, for example, that a school in Lifford is being giving a different direction to combat COVID19 to one that is based in Strabane – both towns are one mile apart.

“This is the practical and confusing complexities around two different approaches. 

“The simple reality is the Coronavirus does not recognise borders.

“Various educational and sporting organisations have already taking precautions to protect the interests of citizens. 

“Last night the Catholic Church also called for the closure of schools to protect pupils, their families and staff.

“As political leaders, we must now take decisive action which is also in the best interest of all citizens.  

“In the coming days, I will continue to actively work with Executive Ministers, the Irish Government and both Chief Medical Officers for one approach across this island that protects the interests of citizens in Belfast, Dublin, Derry and Cork.” 

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