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CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Council backs demand for 'dramatic action' in fight against Covid-19

A motion proposed sourcing thousands of life-saving ventilators, requisition of Covid-19 test kits and essential PPE for workers

Shaun Harkin

Shaun Harkin who is to contest the General Election in Foyle for People Before Profit.

Derry councillors have backed a proposal for the British and NI governments to upscale the manufacture of and ordering of ventilators and test kits amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A full meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council took place online on Thursday for the first time in the local authority's history.

People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said: "We welcome the near unanimous support from Cllrs of all political persuasions to support People Before Profit's proposal to source thousands of life-saving ventilators, requisition Covid-19 test kit manufacturer Randox for the health service and to back essential workers taking action for PPE and the immediate implementation of public health guidelines in workplaces.

"It's critical the Council does everything in its power to put pressure on Westminster, the Stormont Executive, the Department of Health and employers to do everything possible to save lives. 

"The number of ventilators available here and ordered is far too low to deal with the anticipated surge. Testing should be carried out on a widespread basis. Workers should be commended for taking and threatening to take direct action to ensure health guidelines are implemented.

"It's crucial the full Council sends the clear message that it stands with workers asserting their right to health safety and financial security. 

"It's unfortunately already the case that the delayed inadequate response and lack of coordination from Boris Johnson, the Stormont Executive and the Dail may cost many more lives than necessary.

"The Derry and Strabane Council has shown more decisive leadership than Westminster and the Stormont Executive in response to the Covid-19 public health emergency and the economic crisis accompanying it.

"People Before Profit representatives North and South will continue to call for an integrated all-Ireland strategy that puts health and people first. Government resources across the island should be on war footing."

Full proposal to Derry and Strabane Council full meeting Thursday March 26 held via WebEx by People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin. Seconded by Independent Cllr Paul Gallagher. Amended by Sinn Fein Cllr Sandra Duffy to also include Westminster reads:

Council calls for Westminster and the Stormont Executive to immediately source thousands of Covid-19 life-saving ventilators.

Council calls for Westminster and the Stormont Executive to requisition Randox for the health service in order to provide hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 test kits. Randox was given £23 million in public funds and is now charging extortionate prices for test kits.

Councils calls on Westminster, the Stormont Executive, the Department of Heath and all employers providing essential services to provide PPE for all workers.

Council supports the 'Clap for Carers' action at 8pm tonight in support of frontline workers and stands in solidarity with all workers taking action to make sure government and public health agency guidelines are immediately implemented in their workplaces. 

Council calls for Westminster, the Stormont Executive and all employers to make sure no workers acting to protect public health - themselves, their families, the broader community and the vulnerable - are punished financially.

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