National crisis for Ireland if the DUP ease restrictions in the North

Aoife Breslin

Extreme measures are being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on our Island, but with the DUP considering lifting restrictions in Northern Ireland, will our sacrifices have been a waste?

Northern Ireland has been advised by medical experts to not lift restrictions. With 511 new confirmed cases and an additional ten deaths on the 14th of November, it should be evident to the DUP not to lift restrictions.

The DUP must consider the implications that their decision will have not only on Northern Ireland but also on the Island as a whole.

Cases in the North are growing faster than those in the Republic of Ireland, therefore, if there is any ease of restrictions it will set our country back hugely in terms of eliminating the virus.

Border counties Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal were the first three counties in the Republic to be introduced to level 3, it cannot be a coincidence that all these counties are on the border of Northern Ireland. How can widespread transmission be controlled if the South remain in level 5, whilst Northerners can cross the border as they please.

It can be argued that bordering counties will suffer from looser restrictions in Northern Ireland, possibly more than other counties, because of travel, work and education causing people to commute between the North and South.

If the Northern Irish people can freely cross the border, they should respect the restrictions put in place in the Republic, even if they are not required to follow these rules.

With the Republic of Ireland prioritising the population’s health, ensuring congestion and overcrowding in hospitals are avoided and restrictions being heavily enforced. If Northern Ireland is not following similar guidelines, has all our compromise been for nothing?

Widespread transmission can only be kept at ease in Ireland if the North and South are working together to combat the spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately, there is no sufficient co-operation between the DUP and the Irish government in tackling the virus.

The whole country must prioritise the people’s health, which only the Republic of Ireland is considering at the moment. Most of us are following the correct precautions, but this may not be the case if the DUP opens Northern Ireland, as people will struggle to remain optimistic.

This week people began to see the light, as Pfizer’s experimental coronavirus vaccine is said to more than 90% effective. This news spread hope across our Island, however, until this vaccine is made available the only way of curbing widespread transmission is to follow the correct procedures to protect our people.

The country does want to live a relatively normal Christmas, but if the Northern Irish people can freely cross the border then this is hugely unlikely. It is a difficult time for the majority of people, but with the whole Island working as one, following similar guidelines, we can stop the spread of Covid-19.

However, for this to truly work the DUP cannot ease restrictions, as we all know it will have a problematic effect on our Island as a whole.

Aoife Breslin 

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