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25th Jan 2021

Arlene Foster says Northern Ireland testing “massively more advanced than” in Republic

Rudi Kinsella

arlene foster covid

Foster seems particularly unhappy with comments made by Micheál Martin this weekend.

Arlene Foster has said that Northern Ireland’s testing for new variants of Covid is “massively more advanced” than it is in the Republic of Ireland.

This comes after An Taoiseach questioned the north’s testing of the B.1.1.7 variant, otherwise known as the ‘UK variant’, when speaking on Saturday.

Martin had said that “the north isn’t testing for the variant”, and that after speaking with leaders in the north, “their view is that the variant doesn’t appear to be as big an issue”.

Foster has responded by saying that she had just finished a call with Martin, where “he accepted that Northern Ireland is testing for SARS-CoV-2.”

She then said: “The variant testing here is massively more advanced than Republic of Ireland.”

She continued: “Also pressed him on sharing travel locator forms. He committed to movement soon on that issue.”

This comes after Northern Ireland’s Department of Health has released a statement on Sunday evening rejecting “misleading commentary” in relation to new variants of Covid-19.

It read: “To suggest that NI is inactive in this field would be wholly incorrect – and is unfair to the dedicated, expert local staff working intensively in this area. Work is ongoing in relation to increasing the level of publicly available data on the ‘B.1.1.7 variant’ in NI.”

The statement in full can be read here.