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East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons has said the DUP will continue to take a balanced and proportionate approach in handling covid-19 which protects life and livelihoods and he also called on Sinn Fein to dial down the rhetoric and focus on consensus solutions.

The DUP MLA who is also a Junior Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive said,

“My constituents want to see a sensible and balanced approach by the Executive which recognises there are no easy decisions. Mary Lou’s latest comments are heavy on party-political rhetoric but light on strategy or plans.

Rather than explaining why Sinn Fein somersaulted between Sunday and Monday, Mary Lou is desperately lashing out at the DUP. It is time for Sinn Fein to dial down the rhetoric and show they are serious about dealing with the crisis.

The Sinn Fein record over covid-19 has been one of double standards and political opportunism. When it came to closing schools, SF was all over the place. When it came to getting PPE, SF’s focus was on whether it came from Dublin or London. Then on help from the army, SF stalled before catching themselves on. Mary Lou then sought to weaponise the pandemic by saying it would be a catalyst for a united Ireland and finally SF completely disregarded medical advice and brought thousands on to the streets for the Bobby Storey funeral.

The public has already judged Sinn Fein’s approach to covid-19.

Whilst the DUP has worked with the administrations across the British Isles, to get mature and sensible solutions, too often SF’s first instinct has been to play politics. Its time they wised up. Rather than lashing out at the DUP, Mary Lou should sort out who is leading her party, Dublin or Belfast.

There is no textbook to handle covid-19. It requires balanced and proportionate steps to protect our hospitals and family incomes. Families depending on sectors which have been closed have no idea how they are putting presents under the Christmas tree. This not a black and white decision of choosing between hospitals and jobs. For anyone to characterise it as such is foolish.

The Chief Medical Officers in London and Belfast have both recognised that poverty kills. That’s why our focus is on equipping the economy and the health service to co-exist with the virus. We need rapid and regular testing rolled out for our care homes and hospitals. We need covid-19 safe standards for businesses so they can be supported to operate safely.

Whilst SF plays politics, we will focus on serious solutions.”