Northern Ireland news

'No resolution' with Dublin government over sharing passenger data, says Michelle O'Neill

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill says she plans to raise the matter directly with Taoiseach Micheál Martin
Rebecca Black, PA

No resolution has been reached between Stormont leaders and the Dublin government over the sharing of passenger data.

Last week, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill criticised the Republic's leaders for failing to share information on travellers arriving on the island during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Executive is seeking access data on passenger locator forms filled out by people arriving in the Republic who may travel on to the north.

Mrs Foster and Ms O'Neill indicated on Thursday that they planned to raise the matter directly with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Ms O'Neill told the assembly today that no resolution has yet been found.

She was responding to a question by UUP MLA Alan Chambers.

"We have raised this issue on every occasion we have had opportunity to raise the issue, and I think it is really regrettable there hasn't been a resolution as of yet," Ms O'Neill told MLAs.

"I hope that perhaps Wednesday's meeting will allow some opportunity for there to be a way forward.

"We believe the (legal) issues have been resolved so I don't see any barrier now in terms of information being shared.

"That works both ways, it's north/south, it's south/north, it's east/west. I think it is really, really important that these things are looked at from purely a public health point of view and that no-one plays politics with this issue, it's far too serious.

"I think a conversation at the highest level of government is the way to resolve these things. There is a political solution to the issue of travel and I hope that can be found."

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