In the face of almost 3,500 cases on the Island of Ireland, Tyrone Aontú Councillor Denise Mullen has condemned the lack of harmony between the Northern Executive and the Irish Government in responding to the crisis. She stated “The lack of harmony and uniform approach from the two authorities has undermined strategies to counteract the spread of the virus, and needlessly put the safety, security and well-being of the Irish people in harm’s way.
I made the call for greater cooperation only last week alongside my Aontú border colleagues, Cllr Dr Anne McCloskey and Cllr Sarah O’Reilly on the damage arising from the disharmony on the island. The two authorities are taking two completely divergent approaches. The Irish government has its emphasis on community and contact tracing, whilst the Northern Executive abandoned this approach weeks ago to focus testing overwhelmingly on hospital staff and inpatients. Advice regarding self-isolation, quarantine, and social distancing differs depending on which county you’re in. Border communities are beset by confusion and fear, as the rules where they work are different to the rules where they live. One authority dismisses herd immunity, another embraces. One authority follows the experience of the WHO and South Korea, another rejects. Financial supports, at best for a confusing labyrinth for residents along the border.
This cannot be emphasised enough: the Coronavirus does not recognise borders, does not discriminate on the basis of political belief or religious affiliation, does not distinguish between North and South, Irish or British. The Covid-19 virus is claiming the lives of too many people on this Island, and contaminating so many more. Watching the First Minister and Deputy First Minister Bickering at press conferences every evening does nothing to instil confidence. Politics, partisanship, and history must be parked – and all efforts directed to one end: the safety of all who call the Island of Ireland home”.