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Executive 'not given advanced detail' of Republic's lockdown exit plan

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Leo Varadkar announced the Republic's lockdown exit plan last week. Credit: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar announced the Republic's lockdown exit plan last week. Credit: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

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Leo Varadkar announced the Republic's lockdown exit plan last week. Credit: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

The Northern Ireland Executive was not given advanced detail of the Republic's lockdown exit strategy, Stormont's leaders have revealed.

Speaking at Monday's daily briefing on the Covid-19 crisis, First Minister Arlene Foster acknowledged the development in the Republic, which will begin lifting some of the restrictions on May 18, stressing the Executive is "working actively on our plan".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unveiled the Irish Government's five-stage 'road map' last Friday.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the departments of health in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to strengthen co-operation in the battle against coronavirus

Last week it was announced that the Executive will be unveiling its "pathway to recovery" for Northern Ireland in the coming days.

"(We) continue to make progress. It is important the Executive remains focused on getting it right," said the DUP leader.

Outlining the Executive's "thought process" on the plan, stressing this was the seventh week Northern Ireland is living "with restrictions no one wanted".

"If we had not implemented those restrictions. The first wave would have been a lot worse than it has been," she said.

"The challenge for this Executive is how do we lessen the restrictions, that is science-led, proportionate."

Questioned about the Irish Government's exit strategy, the First Minister revealed that she had had a meeting with the Tanaiste Simon Coveney and the Republic's Health Minister, Simon Harris.

"We talked about a number of issues... Of course it's always for a government to put out its staging posts, the way forward. We didn't have a comprehensive view of what was coming in relation to that plan."

Deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill also confirmed that no advanced detail was provided to the Executive by the Irish government.

"We talked about the potential exit strategies and what that would look like in the general terms, but there was any detail shared in terms of what Dublin has published," she said.

Mrs O'Neill also offered the Executive's sympathies to the loved ones of a further six people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus here.

The Northern Ireland death toll now stands at 387. Five of the notified deaths released on Monday happened in the previous 24 hours. The remaining death occurred prior to that, but has only now been reported.

Belfast Telegraph