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Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley who also sits on the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee has called on the Taoiseach Micheál Martin to withdraw and apologise for the inaccurate comments he made about testing within Northern Ireland for the new variant of Covid.

Mr Buckley said,

“The comments from Micheál Martin about suggesting there was deficiency with testing for the new variant in Northern Ireland were not only inaccurate but tarnished the good name of our public health workers who are leading on this front. He should apologise and correct the record.

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom genomic testing structure and as such has one of highest levels of testing for new variants per head of population. Our testing massively surpasses the level of testing in other European countries such as the Republic.

We hear much about a ‘shared island’ yet Micheál Martin's government won’t even share their travel locator forms. When it comes to sensible north-south cooperation there is no more important issue than the protection of life yet it is over this very issue that Republic of Ireland is dragging its heels.

It is time for Micheál Martin and his government to take a more constructive approach, share the travel locator forms and work constructively rather than taking cheap shots.”