Sammy Wilson claims face masks worn by children can reduce the intake of oxygen and cause side effects
Veteran DUP MP Sammy Wilson has claimed face masks worn by children can reduce the intake of oxygen causing a series of side effects including a "reluctance to go to school".
His comments came as education chiefs issued advice that schoolchildren should continue to wear coverings.
In recent weeks there have been debates over whether masks should be worn in schools as pandemic restrictions continue to be lifted by authorities.
On Tuesday Covid-19 restrictions were eased across the north, including the wearing of face coverings in enclosed areas.
Mr Wilson, who has previously express opposition to masks, has now claimed that there is “overwhelming evidence” on why masks should be removed.
“There are now a large number of studies, in fact there are about 167 studies now which show that first of all, face masks are really not all that effective in stopping the spread of the disease," he said.
“But even more worryingly, from Spain, Germany, we haven't done any studies here in Northern Ireland but from other countries, America, other countries in the world, that actually wearing face masks does do damage to children."
The DUP man claimed masks can have a negative impact on children and cause side effects.
“It does damage to children in terms of the irritation which it causes, giving them headaches, lack of concentration, reluctance to go to school, impairing learning and of course we all know that if you restrict the intake of oxygen then it's going to have those kinds of side effects,” he said.
Earlier this week The Department of Education (DE) has said post-primary pupils should continue to wear face coverings in class when the half-term break comes to an end.
In a letter from the department to school said that guidance to schools was "not impacted" by the recent lifting of restrictions.
"The position on face coverings, based on public health advice, remains that it is strongly recommended that post-primary pupils wear a face covering at all times when inside school buildings, including classrooms, corridors and confined communal spaces such as toilet areas," the letter said.