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Northern Ireland part of Covid inquiry to open in Belfast

On Tuesday, the UK Covid inquiry which is sitting in Belfast for three weeks will start hearing from the most senior politicians and health advisors in Northern Ireland about why decisions were taken and by whom.

This is module 2c of the inquiry, which is focusing on decision-making and political governance.

This module will investigate Northern Ireland specifically and will include the initial response, central government decision making, and political and civil service performance. It will also probe whether Northern Ireland's political nuances had any affect on the effectiveness of the response.

There were tensions between the political parties when senior Sinn Féin figures attended the funeral of ex-IRA leader Bobby Storey and when the DUP's Edwin Poots, then minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, said coronavirus was more common in nationalist areas.

The hearings begin with opening statements and evidence from Covid-19 Bereaved Families and Disability Action.

Core participants who have been named in advance include the former first ministers, Dame Arlene Foster and Paul Givan, and Michelle O'Neill, who was deputy first minster during the pandemic. Senior representatives from the departments of health, finance, the Executive Office, and the civil service will also be questioned.

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Source: BBC, 29 April 2024


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