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Coronavirus: Timeline on graveyards controversy

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Yesterday: Cemeteries in Northern Ireland were to be reopened, First Minister Arlene Foster announced

Yesterday: Cemeteries in Northern Ireland were to be reopened, First Minister Arlene Foster announced

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Yesterday: Cemeteries in Northern Ireland were to be reopened, First Minister Arlene Foster announced

Saturday, March 28: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 came into force at 11pm, and cemetery gates remained shut since.

Saturday, April 18: Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick asked councils in England to keep open or reopen cemeteries and graveyards.

Sunday, April 19: Janina Gurney (33), a Co Antrim nurse, backed calls for Stormont to allow cemeteries to reopen after coming to the aid of an elderly man who was attempting to visit his wife's grave at the cemetery in Cullybackey.

Tuesday, April 21: First Minister Arlene Foster said it was her view that cemeteries should be reopened with social distancing rules.

However, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill warned against the reopening of cemeteries at Tuesday's daily Covid-19 briefing.

Wednesday, April 22: Health Minister Robin Swann stated there was no reason to keep people from visiting cemeteries.

Thursday, April 23: Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy criticised comments made by a Catholic bishop on the reopening of cemeteries.

The Finance Minister said the intervention by Bishop of Derry Dr Donal McKeown on the matter was "unfortunate".

Friday, April 24: Cemeteries in Northern Ireland were to be reopened, the First Minister announced.

Speaking at yesterday's Covid-19 briefing, Mrs Foster said: "This is about balancing public health concerns with the basic human need for people to visit their loved one's grave."

Belfast Telegraph