Opposition to vaccine passports in North ‘astounding and reckless’, SDLP leader says

ireland
Opposition To Vaccine Passports In North ‘Astounding And Reckless’, Sdlp Leader Says
Colum Eastwood slammed the DUP and Sinn Féin after they opposed a proposal to make proof of vaccination a requirement for entry to venues. Photo: PA Images.
Share this article

By James Ward, PA

Opposition to the introduction of vaccination passports in Northern Ireland has been blasted as “astounding and reckless” by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

Mr Eastwood slammed the DUP and Sinn Féin after they opposed a proposal to make proof of Covid vaccination a requirement in hospitality and entertainment venues.

It comes as ministers agreed a plan to drop the one-metre social distancing requirement in shops, but decided that plans to require so-called vaccination passports for entry to venues would be advisory only.

Mr Eastwood blasted the decision as “irresponsible” amid warnings of pressure on the health service during winter.

He said: “This is a moment for political leadership. The warnings from senior health service professionals could not be starker.

The choice we have right now is to increase vaccinations or introduce restrictions

Advertisement

“Unless rates of transmission fall, we are looking at a bleak winter scenario that will push health workers beyond their limits and see some emergency services collapse.

“We cannot allow that to happen. The choice we have right now is to increase vaccinations or introduce restrictions.

“In a few weeks, we won't have any choice at all. This was the moment to act.

“The evidence from other regions that have implemented vaccine certification programmes is that it drives vaccine uptake, particularly in younger age groups.

“This is uncomfortable, no one wants to be in this situation, but if this will save lives and protect our health service then of course we should do it and do it quickly.”

'Astounding and reckless'

At a meeting on Monday evening, SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon argued against a proposal from the DUP and Sinn Féin which will see social distancing measures dropped in some venues without the requirement of vaccine certification.

Ms Mallon proposed Covid vaccine passports be introduced by regulation but was blocked in the executive vote.

Mr Eastwood added: “It is astounding and reckless that DUP and Sinn Féin ministers have kicked the can down the road instead of bringing certainty and clarity.

Advertisement
Ireland
Social distancing in shops and indoor venues to en...
Read More

“Their decision not to put vaccine certifications in regulation but instead to remove social distancing requirements and advise businesses to opt in is totally irresponsible.

“Not only does this offer no incentive for vaccination it puts the onus entirely on businesses themselves.

“This is a cop out and another failure of leadership.”

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2021, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com