Clarke - Chief Constable raises more questions about rushed covid passport policy

The DUP’s South Antrim MLA and Lead Policing Board representative Trevor Clarke has said serious concerns raised by the Chief Constable Simon Byrne are further demonstration that NI’s Covid passport policy was rushed and ill-considered.

By Trevor Clarke MLA

South Antrim

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Commenting after Thursday’s meeting of the Policing Board, Mr Clarke said:

‘‘The Chief Constable has rubbished DoH’s preferred timescale for commencing enforcement of Covid passports, calling it unrealistic. He has also stressed that because demands on policing have returned to pre-Covid levels, officers will be spending less time, not more, supporting the Health Protection Regulations.

The decision to press ahead with a domestic Covid certification scheme was a mistake. It has led to a series of u-turns, division and the abandonment of process rather than an easing of hospitalisations.

First, there was the u-turn on unlicensed premises. Second, there was u-turn on giving the NI Assembly a vote in advance. Thirdly, the u-turn on the use of the cardboard vaccination card and now we have the police saying the timescale is unrealistic.

This demonstrates the utter folly of those NI Executive parties who made passports a political pet project despite practical concerns about how it would operate.

This rushed policy has been a distraction from the pressing need to accelerate the booster programme, tackle the crisis in domiciliary care and increase capacity in our hospitals.’’

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