North/South Ministerial Council: Plenary and Institutional

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:45 pm on 18th January 2021.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 12:45 pm, 18th January 2021

My message is very clear to everyone: stay at home. That is the message across both islands. That should be the message that everybody hears. There should be no unnecessary journeys. Go out only if you must. Go out only for essential reasons. No matter where you are from, people should stay at home and not travel unless it is absolutely necessary.

I do not have an awful lot more to say about COVID-19 recovery at this stage. The crisis facing our health service is immense, and the best thing that we all can do for people who work in the health service, and for people who develop COVID-19 and who may need the health service, is to stay at home.

On recovery, the Executive are focused very much on what comes next. We have put together a task force that is about the here and now but also about looking towards societal recovery, health recovery and wider economic recovery. We have a huge amount of work to do. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted those on lower incomes and women. Those are challenges that the Executive, as a whole, will have to face as we start to build to brighter days in the future, but it will be extremely challenging for everybody.