From DUP <[email protected]>
Subject Covid-19 News Update - 10th April
Date April 10, 2020 2:04 PM
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Stay at home this Easter

DUP Update - 10th April 2020
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** Stay at Home - Save Lives
Northern Ireland First Minster Arlene Foster and East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell have jointly called on people to stay at home this weekend and not come to the North Coast.

Commenting Mrs Foster said,

“No matter where I go in the world, I promote the tourism gems of Northern Ireland such as the North Coast, but this is an extraordinary time and to protect our hospitals and our loved ones we need people to stay at home. Second homes and caravans are not a reason for travel. The police will be taking a very tough line on this and we support them fully.”

Mr Campbell said,

“As MP for the Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart area I want to see as many visitors as possible to the region. We depend on visitors. Easter weekend is normally one of the busiest of the year. This weekend has to be different. We want people to stay at home.

We support the police in enforcing the extraordinary laws we have at the moment. They exist to save lives. Second homes and caravans are not reasons to travel to the North Coast.”

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Party Leader Arlene Foster giving full support to the police as they will enforce the regulations on travel from your home this Easter weekend.

** Gaps in support measures highlighted with Chancellor
The Party's Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Chief Whip Sammy Wilson have written to Chancellor of the Exchequor Rishi Sunak highlighting omissions within the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

It also raises issues in relation to the Business Interruption Loans scheme and the Small Business Grants Scheme.

The letter can also be viewed here:
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** Further resources to combat COVID-19
The Executive has agreed further allocations of almost £300 million to tackle Covid-19.

This in addition to the £634.8 million already allocated bringing the total funding for the emergency Covid-19 response to £933 million.
* £150 million has been set aside to purchase Personal Protection Equipment for healthcare workers and other frontline workers.

* £65 million has been allocated to the Department of Health to help the fight against Covid-19.

* £15.3 million has been provided to support the most vulnerable in society. This funds a weekly food box service for over 10,000 people, grants for older people, support for the homeless. The Executive has agreed an additional £10 million for further interventions to support vulnerable members of our society.

* £12 million has been provided for Emergency Childcare provision for key workers. Plus an additional £0.4 million to enable the Youth Service to support the Department for Communities to provide food for vulnerable young people.

* £4 million has also been allocated to the PSNI to maintain critical services during Covid-19.”

The Finance Minister also confirmed this week that the funding secured by the Party through the Confidence and Supply Agreement at Westminster still continues to deliver for Northern Ireland.

** Social distancing breach at funeral to be investigated by police
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Keith Buchanan MLA was amongst the DUP representatives to raise the breach of social distancing regulations at a recent funeral.

Mid Ulster DUP MLA Keith Buchanan has said images of a funeral procession raise serious questions about adherence to the current regulations on social distancing and the protection of life.

Images of the remains of former Sinn Fein Councillor Francie McNally being taken for burial at St Patricks Church, Ballinderry were posted online in which a large crowd of people can be seen gathered.

Mr Buchanan said, “This is a hugely difficult time for any family that has lost a loved one. The grieving process has been made more difficult because a wake cannot be held and family members have been unable to attend funerals because of the current regulations in place.

Our number one priority must be to protect life and the images posted online appear to contravene all regulations on distancing and on gatherings of people.

I have spoken with the PSNI and there will be a responsibility upon police to take some form of action. This was not even a spontaneous gathering of family or friends. There was an organised party of men accompanying the coffin alongside a relatively large gathering of other people in attendance.

The grief of all families who have lost a loved one at the current time is exacerbated by the stringent measures which have been put in place. However, those regulations apply to everyone regardless of status. The vast majority of families have complied with the regulations, despite the additional pain this will have added to their grieving process and I pay tribute to their selflessness in playing their part in what must be a united community effort to tackle COVID-19.

As we approach this Easter weekend there is a particular concern that people may relax their guard in terms of social distancing. However the threat from this terrible disease means it cannot be business as usual. Unfortunately that must apply to all aspects of life, including funerals.”

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