The Executive must come to an agreement on further restrictions immediately

12 Nov 2020

Speaking after the NI Executive meeting on Thursday evening ended with no decision, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy said:

“We are very concerned about the ongoing impasse at the NI Executive undermines the capacity and potential of devolved government for Northern Ireland.

“After several days of Executive meetings, an agreement as to whether to extend the current restrictions by a further two weeks has not yet been reached.

“While we accept that a 5 party involuntary coalition is a challenging form of government, we are in extraordinary times within the context of the coronavirus pandemic and therefore our Executive must come to a resolution to these matters immediately.

“The Chief Medical Officer has sought that the Executive agree to an additional 2 weeks of restrictions. This is perfectly understandable given that today we have more people in hospitals and in ICU than in the Republic of Ireland, despite having a little over one third of their population.

“What is of particular serious concern at this point in this crisis is that even when the Minister for Health sought by way of a compromise that the restrictions be continued for 1 week rather than 2, it is reported that the DUP alone rejected this compromise. This is not the time nor the issue to play politics.

“There are varying views within politics and within society about the restrictions, their impact and consequences. We have stated that lockdowns and restrictions can be blunt instruments and can have unintended consequences.  

“Any continuation of restrictions must be accompanied by more support for the lowest paid workers in society. We also must urgently support people financially when they are required to self-isolate rather than the insult of £95 per week statutory sick pay.”