Other News In Brief

Schools Need Support To Remain Open Safely - Sheehan

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has said Thursday's recall of the Assembly is an opportunity to make it clear to the Education Minister that schools need support to remain open safely.

The party's education spokesperson said: "I welcome the endorsement of Sinn Féin's proposal to recall the Assembly on Thursday over the need for clear guidance and support for our schools over rising Covid19 cases.

"This is an opportunity for MLAs to make it clear to the education minister Michelle McIlveen that keeping our schools open in a safe way is a priority.

"To ensure that our schools do remain open, they need to be properly resourced and supported with clear guidance from the Department of Education. That’s the clear message we will give the minister on Thursday."

Continued 'Can-Kicking' Does Not Provide Certainty Our Economy Requires

Continued "can-kicking" does not provide the certainty and stability our economy requires, Alliance MP Stephen Farry has said, following the extension of the current grace periods around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The move, confirmed by the UK Government via a written ministerial statement, will indefinitely continue the current UK Approach to the Protocol, which in effect unilaterally extends the current periods.

"This should have been a formal statement subject to scrutiny in Parliament rather than being issued via a written ministerial statement,” said the North Down MP.
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"Alliance is conscious while the Northern Ireland Protocol is the outworking of the UK’s decisions on Brexit and the resultant need to address the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, it does provide some significant challenges.

"In the absence of wider agreement on how to address the issues being faced by businesses, consumers and others, the current grace periods do need to be extended. This is far better done by mutual agreement between the UK and the EU rather than unilateral action.

"Continued can-kicking doesn’t provide the certainty and stability that our economy requires. While these moves by the UK Government may provide some short-term relief, longer term solutions on areas such as SPS check and medicines are already available. This requires flexibility and creativity on the part of both the UK and EU. There also needs to be relaxations to assist with labour market pressures in Northern Ireland, and across the UK."

Concerns Raised Over Ticket Prices For NI Matches

The DUP has raised concerns over ticket prices for Northern Ireland International matches with the Irish Football Association.

East Antrim MLA David Hilditch said: "I have been inundated with complaints from disgruntled supporters in relation to the increasing cost of a ticket to the forthcoming internationals and the range of pricing for the games, including the membership of GAWA Official payment to access tickets.

"The cost for a family can now be in the excess of £200 which is totally unfeasible and this significant hike in cost is outpricing dedicated supporters. I have contacted the Chief Executive of the IFA and requested a meeting urgently to discuss the concerns raised by the football fraternity."

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