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Pathway a cliche-ridden algorithm for dither, says Allister

The Traditional Unionist Voice leader said businesses were seeking certainty.

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Jim Allister (Liam McBurney/PA)

Jim Allister (Liam McBurney/PA)

Jim Allister (Liam McBurney/PA)

Stormont has produced a “cliche-ridden” recipe for dither, Jim Allister said.

The ministers’ pathway to recovery from coronavirus does not tell parents when they can return children to school permanently or allow them to attend sports clubs, the powersharing critic added.

The Traditional Unionist Voice leader said businesses were also seeking certainty.

It is not much of a satnav if it does not tell you the route or when you expect to get thereJim Allister

Mr Allister said: “We have been given a cliche-ridden algorithm for dither.

“It is not much of a satnav if it does not tell you the route or when you expect to get there.

“High-sounding cliches about being data-driven of course are really about providing opportunities to cover executive indecision and disagreement, but they do nothing to answer the questions that ordinary people have.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said restrictions would be lifted when it was safe to do so for children and others.

She said easing measures must be sustainable. “None of us want to roll back, we only want to make progress.

“The best way the public can have confidence that we are going to go forward is if we work our way through this in a staged way.”

Mr Allister said there were too many unanswered questions. “All we have today is more maybe, maybe. It is not good enough.”

Ms O’Neill said it was a “hopeful” day. “I believe it is the right pathway to take us out of restrictions.

“It is really important that all ministers and elected representatives work together.

“People have reason to have optimism. People have reason to look to the future with some degree of confidence.

“What we need to do is take them out of it in a staged way.”

The deputy First Minister said there is no single solution to tackling Covid-19.

She added: “We shouldn’t put all our eggs in the vaccine basket.

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The deputy First Minister said there is no single solution to tackling Covid-19 (Liam McBurney/PA)

The deputy First Minister said there is no single solution to tackling Covid-19 (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

The deputy First Minister said there is no single solution to tackling Covid-19 (Liam McBurney/PA)

“While the vaccine is hugely effective, we don’t have evidence to say that it stops the spread of the virus, so we need to have a combination of efforts.”

The DUP’s Pam Cameron asked the Sinn Fein vice-president if she would make it clear whether the indicators the executive will consider when relaxing lockdown rules included economic and educational sectors and not just figures released by the Department of Health.

Ms O’Neill said health, community and economy were all crucially important.

She said the executive was committed to restarting education services as quickly as possible for the sake of children and young people.

The DUP’s Paul Givan said other parts of the UK are getting their children back to school.

Under the executive’s plan, P1 to P3 primary school children will return to school on March 8.

Mr Givan asked could all children be returned to school more quickly.

Ms O’Neill said his DUP is part of the executive and all parties agreed to the approach outlined.

PA


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