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Leaders in the North criticise Irish Government for failing to share passenger data

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill said repeated efforts to secure the information had failed.

Image: PA

STORMONT’S LEADERS HAVE criticised the Irish Government for failing to share information on travellers arriving on the island during the pandemic.

First Minister Arlene Foster said repeated attempts by the Executive to access data on passenger locator forms filled out by people arriving into the Republic had proved unsuccessful.

Her comments came after the Stormont Executive agreed new restrictions on international travel into the North that will require arriving passengers to produce a negative Covid-19 test undertaken within 72 hours of departure for the region.

Decisions to introduce similar measures have already been taken in the Republic as well as in England and Scotland.

At today’s Executive meeting, ministers also heard that current lockdown measures appear to be working, with the virus reproduction number for cases in the community having fallen to between 0.7 and 0.9.

The R number had been 1.8 when the current six-week lockdown was introduced after Christmas.

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Ministers were also told that 5% of the population – more than 102,000 people – had now received a Covid-19 vaccine, making the North one of the most advanced places in the world in terms of vaccine rollout.

Foster said the administration was elevating the issue around data sharing with their counterparts in Dublin to try to secure progress.

The First Minister said she and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill would be again raising it directly with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

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