THE Deputy First Minister believes the new severe restrictions are “necessary” and the “best hope of getting into the new year” without any further interventions.
Michelle O’Neill was speaking in Coalisland where she asked people to put things into context, as over “3,000 families will have an empty seat when they come together at Christmas as they have lost a loved one” to Covid-19.
The Tyrone woman said she is glad that the Executive reached a collective decision that is supported by health advice to introduce the new restrictions from today (Friday).
Mrs O’Neill continued, “It was a very difficult decision and not something that we took lightly, and we understand it will greatly impact on many people’s lives – their own personal freedom but also businesses.
“This is a necessary intervention that is required because of the current situation in the midst of the second wave of a local pandemic, and it is a very worrying situation.
“I do think we have to put it into context – over 3,000 families will have an empty seat when they come together at Christmas as they have lost a loved one.
“That is the reality of this virus.
“We are dealing with a very serious and trying position and I think the intervention is required and gives us the best hope of getting into the new year.”
When asked by the media about the impact the new restrictions will have on businesses and the frustration at how this agreement was reached, Mrs O’Neill said, “I accept that the last six weeks have been very difficult for the Executive.
“I regret the fact that despite the collective will of the Executive, all bar the DUP, to support public health advice and to make timely decisions to give people time to plan, the DUP used the cross community veto.
“We are where we are today, and our job now is to support those people and businesses who need the money in their bank accounts now. The Department of Economy needs to bring through proposals to allow us to support businesses when it is usually their most lucrative time of the year.”