The Workers’ Party is dismayed at the half measures put in place by the Northern Ireland Assembly today. That it took this long for the Assembly to meet is astounding in itself but for the outcome to be this vague is insulting to our citizens and the crisis we are facing.

Chris Bailie, Workers’ Party representative for North Belfast said “The Assembly much like their equivalents in the south have purposely ignored all scientific and medical advice. Indeed we are very far away from an all-island approach and as a result we play Russian roulette with the lives of our populations particularly our most vulnerable.

Pushing people back to work and children to school in August/September has led us to this point. Had we continued on a strategy of elimination the virus could well have been crushed as we have seen in countries like Vietnam and New Zealand.”

Bailie continued “It is patently evident that the priority of the Assembly, Westminster and the Dail is the protection of profit before people.

ICU beds in the north are almost at capacity and the health service continues to be stretched with our frontline workers facing increasing pressure.”

Bailie concludes “With the closure of pubs and restaurants for four weeks the Workers’ Party demand that the Assembly ensure all workers in this industry are given 100% of their wages to ensure that they do not face even more hardships or worries during this difficult time.

Once again the Workers’ Party calls for a full lockdown across the island with the necessary financial support for workers and small businesses, restrictions to international travel and enforced quarantine for those returning or arriving to the island as well as a fit for purpose contact tracing system working across borders.

The failure to adopt an all-island policy continues to put lives at risk. An all-island approach to an all-island problem is the only solution and our governments must act fast to save lives and protect our citizens.”