Michelle O’Neill has said she will not stand in the way of a request to the army for help during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Deputy First Minister had hit out at Health Minister Robin Swann over the weekend, claiming he had asked for the army’s assistance without consulting his Executive colleagues.
Mr Swann told the News Letter newspaper that he has submitted two requests to the Ministry of Defence to secure army assistance to the health service as Northern Ireland battles coronavirus.
The requests are for military logistics support in distributing life-saving equipment to hospitals and assistance in planning for a possible Nightingale hospital at the former Maze Prison site.
Ms O’Neill reacted claiming Mr Swann had acted “unilaterally and without consultation with Executive colleagues”.
Speaking at the Executive’s press briefing on Wednesday, Ms O’Neill said she has had a conversation with Mr Swann about the matter.
“My number one priority is to save lives and whatever is required, including using the British Army to save lives, I will not stand in the way, that’s what I’m here to do. I only have one objective,” she said.
“I have raised concerns with the Health Minister around how that was communicated and the fact there wasn’t an executive discussion but I’ve had that conversation with Robin.
“There clearly is guidelines around these things and all departments will be aware of those guidelines.”