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Taoiseach tells Boris Johnson to consider financial support for north's 'very, very worrying' Covid situation

 Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) and Taoiseach Micheal Martin at Hillsborough Castle in August. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin discussed the issue of rising numbers of Covid-19 cases on both sides of the Irish border on a call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning.

Speaking at Farmleigh House in Dublin, Mr Martin said: “I made a very strong point to the British Prime Minister this morning that the situation is very, very worrying in terms of the growing numbers in Northern Ireland and that they needed support, that the Northern Ireland executive needed support, and that if he could give consideration in terms of financial support to underpin any efforts or any restrictions that they themselves might decide to bring in.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It wasn’t a call about any aspects of Brexit.

“It was about the response to Covid and ensuring that the United Kingdom Government and the Irish Government can work closely together on helping to combat the spread of the virus on the island of Ireland.”

Yesterday Mr Martin said the British government should provide extra financial support to the north if further restrictions are imposed to combat rising Covid cases.

The taoiseach last night told The Irish News he was "very worried" about the growing number of infections on both sides of the border.

There have been 923 new cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland confirmed in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health.

Some 4,674 cases have been reported in the last seven days, bringing the overall total number of cases confirmed in the region to 17,110.

One further death has been reported by the department, bringing the toll to 587.

Executive ministers are due to meet again today to discuss if further restrictions should be imposed.

New 'Level 3' restrictions came into effect across the Republic yesterday.

With localised measures also in place in the Derry and Strabane council area, Mr Martin said he was satisfied with the level of cross-border cooperation.

He said he spoke to First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill on Monday night and there was also a "good level of coordination" between the two chief medical officers.

"We need to work closely to approximate measures as best as we can," he said.

"I take the politics out of it and I look at it as purely a public health measure – that's why the memorandum of understanding was signed between the two CMOs."




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