McGrath: First Ministers’ absence during crucial debate ‘extraordinary’

vaccine colinmcgrath certification

Social Democratic and Labour Party Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath MLA has labelled Michelle O’Neill and Paul Givan’s absence during a crucial Assembly debate on vaccine certification as an extraordinary abdication of responsibility.

The Health Committee member said that mixed messaging, ducking debates and failing to front up the communication of the Executive’s certification position is a damning indictment of their leadership. 

Colin McGrath MLA said:

“For two days, Assembly members have been giving detailed consideration to the latest Covid-19 regulations which introduce the requirement for vaccine certification in listed premises. This is a significant tool in our fight against this virus and the new Omicron variant. It is extraordinary in that time that the joint First Ministers could not be bothered to attend or take part in this crucial debate. 

“In Scotland and Wales, the leaders of the devolved administrations have fronted up new regulations. Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have taken responsibility for the measures needed to keep people safe and keep their economies operating safely. It is an extraordinary abdication of responsibility for Michelle O’Neill and Paul Givan to stay away from this critical debate in the Assembly.

“The SDLP wanted certification introduced months ago but at a time when we need leadership from the First Ministers we’re getting mixed messages, ducking debates and a failure to front up the communication of the regulations needed to support our economy safely. It is a damning indictment of those who hold high office.”

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