Covid situation in Northern Ireland deeply concerning
- Taoiseach needs to relay to the Executive serious concerns about their approach and encourage them to take action
Speaking at Leaders Questions, Labour Leader and Health Spokesperson Alan Kelly raised the Covid situation in Northern Ireland.
Deputy Kelly was speaking after 17 ambulances were forced to queue and treat patients with the engine running in all Northern Ireland’s hospitals.
Deputy Kelly said:
“Dr Gabriel Scally said when it comes to COVID, if Northern Ireland was a football team, they’d be in the relegation zone and the directors will be bringing in a new manager.
“Instead of playing politics, trying to be on both sides of many arguments, bickering, dithering, maybe now we have reached a point where our government, in this jurisdiction needs to say very clearly that the capacity of the Executive and the way in which they’re dealing with this crisis isn’t working and it’s having a huge consequence on the rest of us on this island.
“If you look at the infection rates now in Northern Ireland it is four times the rate of what it is in the south. If you look at the numbers, the difference in infection rates is alarming. In the counties of Cork and Kerry we have a 14 day incident rate of 25 and 30. In Northern Ireland, the local districts of Antrim, Newtownabbey, Mid and East Antrim, Causeway Coast, Glen’s and Mid-Ulster also have a 14 day incident rate of 300 in recent days, and in Mid and East Antrim the figure is over 500.
“The people of the North have been let down and that has a knock on effect in relation to our border areas, and further afield, the 14 day incidence rate in Donegal is the highest in the state at 225 and in Louth the incidence rate there is 175 and then in Cavan/Monaghan, they are both over 100.
“We need action, we need our government and yourself, to make it very clear to the Executive who haven’t got experience in making hard decisions that they are going to have to change tack and quickly.
“I would ask you to do express your solidarity and that of all of the people in this jurisdiction with the workers in Northern Ireland and the people in Northern Ireland, who are trying to deal with this issue, but also express your deep unease at the strategy being imposed by the Sinn Féin – DUP Executive in Northern Ireland, and that from our jurisdictions point of view, this is going to have very negative consequences and also offer whatever help from our jurisdiction to help them.
“You need to make it very clear to this executive that from a performance point of view, they need to be doing much more. They need to make hard decisions in the next 24 hours 48 hours because the impact is not just there; it’s going to affect here across all our counties and further afield.
“Finally, we need to have a plan, because it is referenced in the rollout that was announced yesterday, to ensure that once vaccination starts that we have a coordinated approach across both jurisdictions to ensure consistency of rollout to be able to help those border areas in particular.