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NI political leaders in message of 'hope and reflection'


Progress: Health Minister Robin Swann urged the public to stick to restrictions

Progress: Health Minister Robin Swann urged the public to stick to restrictions

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Progress: Health Minister Robin Swann urged the public to stick to restrictions

Northern Ireland's political leaders have said people can look forward with hope to better times.

In an Easter message, the First Minister and deputy First Minister, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill, said this will also be a time for reflection on the pain and hardship of the last year.

Northern Ireland took a few gradual steps out of lockdown this week, with limited relaxations on some outdoor gatherings and activities, but widespread restrictions on society remain in place.

A series of further steps are scheduled for April 12, including the full resumption of classroom learning in schools.

Yesterday the Department of Health said another 107 confirmed cases were recorded in the last 24-hour reporting period. One further death was also reported.

There were 112 confirmed Covid-positive inpatients in hospital - 17 were in intensive care.

Mrs Foster said: "This weekend we celebrate Easter, our second of this pandemic. The road has been very hard for so many over the last 12 months. I would ask people to take a moment this Easter Sunday to remember all those we have lost and those who are continuing to experience pain and hardship.

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"For those of faith this can be through a time of prayer, as discussed recently with church leaders.

"We can take comfort from the Easter message of hope and renewal and be encouraged that brighter days are ahead."

Ms O'Neill said: "As we approach Easter, we are reminded of just how much our community has been through over the last year. This will be a time of mixed emotions for many. Our thoughts are with all those coming to terms with the pain and loss they have felt as families and individuals.

"Thankfully this year, with the success of our vaccination programme and the gradual easing of restrictions, we can all look to the future together with hope and optimism."

Health Minister Robin Swann pleaded with the public to stick with the measures over the Easter weekend, saying we were continuing to make good progress.

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