Lockdown easing in NI: Both DUP and Sinn Fein ‘hopeful’ reopening dates can be agreed at Executive

Both the DUP and Sinn Fein have signalled their intention to offer “clarity” to businesses with reopening dates following tomorrow’s crunch lockdown meeting.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 9:42 am
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st. Belfast City Centre is currently locked down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The Executive is due to meet tomorrow to discuss the next steps out of lockdown.

Sinn Fein economy spokesperson Caoimhe Archibald, in a statement, said: ““As the Executive is formally reviewing the restrictions on Thursday, now is the time to give businesses as much clarity as possible to enable them to plan.

“I am hopeful that the Executive will be able to give businesses including close contact services, non-essential retail and hospitality, indicative dates for reopening.”

Caoimhe Archibald at the Sinn Fein conference. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

This comes after the DUP Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, made it clear a paper containing proposed reopening dates for high-street businesses such as hairdressers and retailers would be submitted for consideration to the wider Executive.

In recent weeks representatives from the hospitality industry, the retail industry, hairdressers, gym owners, hoteliers and a host of others have expressed frustration with the slower pace to reopening society as other parts of the UK press ahead.

On Monday, both the First and Deputy First Ministers spoke of their “hope” Northern Ireland could move forward with plans to ease restrictions.

First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster said: “I think there are lots of people for business reasons, for wellbeing reasons, they want to see that timetable and I hope that we can do that on Thursday”

Deputy First Minister and Sinn Fein vice leader Michelle O’Neill said: “I think it’s fair to say that we’re increasingly confident” in our ability to be able to make more progress.”