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No resolution reached between Irish government and Stormont leaders over passenger data sharing

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill described the situation as ‘regrettable’.

Image: PA Images

NO RESOLUTION HAS been reached between Stormont leaders and the Irish government over the sharing of passenger data.

Last week, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill criticised leaders in the Republic for failing to share information on travellers arriving on the island during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Executive is seeking access data on passenger locator forms filled out by people arriving in the Republic of Ireland who may travel on to Northern Ireland.

Foster and O’Neill indicated on Thursday that they planned to raise the matter directly with Taoiseach Michéal Martin.

O’Neill told the Assembly today that no resolution has yet been found.

She was responding to a question by Ulster Unionist MLA Alan Chambers.

“We have raised this issue on every occasion we have had opportunity to raise the issue, and I think it is really regrettable there hasn’t been a resolution as of yet,” O’Neill told MLAs.

“I hope that perhaps Wednesday’s meeting will allow some opportunity for there to be a way forward.

“We believe the (legal) issues have been resolved so I don’t see any barrier now in terms of information being shared.

“That works both ways, it’s north/south, it’s south/north, it’s east/west. I think it is really, really important that these things are looked at from purely a public health point of view and that no-one plays politics with this issue, it’s far too serious.

“I think a conversation at the highest level of government is the way to resolve these things. There is a political solution to the issue of travel and I hope that can be found.”

No resolution has been reached between Stormont leaders and the Irish Government over the sharing of passenger data.

Last week, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill criticised Irish leaders for failing to share information on travellers arriving on the island during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Executive is seeking access data on passenger locator forms filled out by people arriving in the Irish Republic who may travel on to Northern Ireland.

Mrs Foster and Ms O’Neill indicated on Thursday that they planned to raise the matter directly with Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

Ms O’Neill told the Assembly on Monday that no resolution has yet been found.

She was responding to a question by Ulster Unionist MLA Alan Chambers.

“We have raised this issue on every occasion we have had opportunity to raise the issue, and I think it is really regrettable there hasn’t been a resolution as of yet,” Ms O’Neill told MLAs.

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“I hope that perhaps Wednesday’s meeting will allow some opportunity for there to be a way forward.

“We believe the (legal) issues have been resolved so I don’t see any barrier now in terms of information being shared.

“That works both ways, it’s north/south, it’s south/north, it’s east/west. I think it is really, really important that these things are looked at from purely a public health point of view and that no-one plays politics with this issue, it’s far too serious.

“I think a conversation at the highest level of government is the way to resolve these things. There is a political solution to the issue of travel and I hope that can be found.”

The Northern Ireland Department of Health this afternoon confirmed that a further 19 people who previously tested positive for Covid-19 have died in the region. 

Another 640 cases of Covid-19 have also been confirmed in the North.

There are now 823 individuals in hospitals in the region with Covid-19, 65 of whom are being treated in intensive care.

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