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24 May 2022

Eastwood: Derry and the North need clear roadmap out of Covid restrictions

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Foyle MP Colum Eastwood: "People need to know what will happen and when we anticipate it will happen"

Foyle MP, Colum Eastwood, has said that Northern Ireland needs a clear and managed roadmap for the easing of Covid-19 restrictions based on the latest health advice.

The SDLP leader accused the number of First Ministers involved throughout the course of the pandemic, of failing to effectively communicate a strategy for implementation or easing of restrictions leading to confusion and a sense of chaos at the heart of government.

Mr Eastwood has called on the current First Ministers, Paul Givan and Michelle O'Neill, to clearly outline the plan for easing restrictions so that the public and businesses can have confidence that, with the support of health advice, the coming weeks will be managed tightly to prevent a snap back into restriction.

He said: “Any honest assessment of the management and communication of restrictions throughout the pandemic will conclude that it has been grossly ineffective and has caused unnecessary confusion.

“Delay, indecision and petty politicking has prevented the Sinn Féin/DUP First Ministers from taking clear, communicable actions that would have provided certainty and a sense of leadership to people and businesses that need it most.

“The next phase of our response to the virus cannot be more of the same. The Executive needs a clear roadmap out of restrictions that is rooted in the latest available public health data.

“People need to know what will happen and when we anticipate it will happen. It must also include targeted support for those sectors which remain vulnerable to transmission.

“The success of the vaccination programme and the effort made by people to keep each other safe has put us in a good position to begin planning for the recovery phase of the pandemic. It cannot be dominated by the chaos of the early response.”

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