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DUP will seek quarantine for visitors from Republic if isolation imposed on travellers from Britain

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill supported introducing quarantine for all people arriving on the island of Ireland.

Image: PA

JEFFREY DONALDSON OF the DUP has said that the unionist party will demand that travellers from the Republic will have to quarantine for 14 days after entering Northern Ireland if Sinn Féin pushes for mandatory self-isolation periods for visitors from Britain.

The Lagan Valley MP said that Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill stood on a “political landmine” when she suggested quarantine periods for people arriving from Great Britain.

“There is a far greater risk to populations along the Border from people travelling back and forward every day from the Republic to Northern Ireland for work, or for social engagement,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

“Therefore I think we would also have to look at that if the Deputy First Minister is in the business of pushing these issues,” he added.

The comments come after O’Neill said on Monday that the biggest coronavirus risk Northern Ireland is facing is travel from Britain.

Backing Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald’s call for all people entering the island of Ireland to self-quarantine, O’Neill said she would raise the issue at the Northern Executive later this week and at the North-South Ministerial Council next week.

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Arrivals in the Republic from Great Britain are currently expected to quarantine for 14 days. However, people can cross the border from Northern Ireland without facing the obligation.

Donaldson said that the risk posed by travellers from Britain was “relatively small” and claimed that O’Neill’s comments were politically motivated.

“I think Michelle O’Neill stood on a political landmine when she made her statement. I really don’t think she has thought this one through at all,” he said.

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Ceimin Burke

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