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British Government’s Covid-19 approach dangerous and reckless – Sinn Fein leader

Mary Lou McDonald has called for an all-island approach to tackling the coronavirus crisis.

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

The leader of Sinn Fein has described the British Government’s approach to tackling Covid-19 as “dangerous and reckless”.

The UK has adopted a different approach to tackling the coronavirus crisis, opting so far not to shut schools or ban mass gatherings.

Schools and colleges in the Republic have closed while bars and pubs have been asked by the Government to shut.

Schools in Northern Ireland remain open “for now”, Stormont education minister Peter Weir said on Monday.

The measures being introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19 will only work if they are in place on both sides of the borderMary Lou McDonald

Speaking ahead of a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other party leaders in Government Buildings in Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald said: “It is essential that we adopt an all-island approach to this crisis.

“The measures being introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19 will only work if they are in place on both sides of the border.

“I will be asking the Taoiseach to contact the British Prime Minister on this issue as a matter of urgency.

“The approach being pursued by London is wrong in our view… it is dangerous and reckless in our view.

“Above all, we know that for measures to work on the island – and this is a small landmass, this is a small island and we have to protect each other.

“It is absolutely imperative that we have a single all-Ireland approach and the Taoiseach has a huge responsibility now to be in touch with London and Boris Johnson to press that point home.”

Ms McDonald welcomed the decision taken by the Government on Sunday to ask all pubs to close and said it needs to be extended to restaurants.

She said: “We are conscious of the impact the current public health crisis is having on people’s lives.

“While we welcome yesterday’s decision to close all pubs and hotel bars, the government must now heed the Restaurants Association of Ireland to also close all restaurants and cafes before St Patrick’s Day.”

PA