Murphy and Mallon round on DUP stance

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Conor Murphy was critical of the DUP’s objection to the introduction of vaccine passports.

The Sinn Fein MLA and finance minister said: “The DUP has always had ideological objections to restrictions during this pandemic.

“That’s been consistent in Executive discussions over time. Ideology does not deal with the health crisis.

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“None of us want restrictions any more than necessary, any longer than is necessary, and we understand in terms of the public, in terms of businesses, the challenges that all these things present but we have a responsibility to public health and we have a responsibility to set aside ideology to take decisions which are in the interests of public health.”

SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon,SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon,
SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon,

SDLP minister Nichola Mallon has said the DUP has questions to answer over their opposition to mandatory vaccine passports.

She said: “Serious questions need to be asked of the DUP, who voted against this.

“What is their plan to protect our health service? What is their plan to reduce transmission rates, to reduce hospitalisation, to reduce deaths.

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“And what is their plan to reduce the chances of people, right across Northern Ireland, facing the possibility of further restrictions coming up to Christmas?”

'Don't help the virus spread' government coronavirus sign'Don't help the virus spread' government coronavirus sign
'Don't help the virus spread' government coronavirus sign

Meanwhile, Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, expressed disappointment at the vaccine passport decision.

“The decision to impose mandatory Covid passports on the entire hospitality industry, without any mention of support, sends a clear signal that we are of no value or concern,” he said.

“Today is another day we have been singled out. The majority of our sector have voiced opposition.

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“There is real concern from our industry that businesses owners, who are already struggling to recover and are now facing the most critical period of the year, will be the ones who must be the enforcers of the scheme, and it is our staff that will face the abuse.

“Evidence shows that this will negatively impact footfall and increase costs in the most important part of the year.

“As the worst-impacted industry, and the one singled out repeatedly for restrictions, we are facing an unknown future. Our industry will have to fight to retain staff and save businesses.”