Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.33 7 Apr 2020


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Health Minister Simon Harris has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with his Northern Ireland counterpart.

The memorandum has been formally agreed between the departments of health for the Republic and the North to underpin and strengthen co-operation on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document focuses on facilitating greater co-operation on areas such as public health messaging, research, programmes of behavioural change, ethics, evidence base/modelling, and public health and non-pharmaceutical measures.

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Some other areas will also be considered, such as procurement, where it is of mutual benefit.

It has been agreed by Minister Harris, Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann and the two Chief Medical Officers Dr Tony Holohan and Dr Michael McBride.

The document has the support of the Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

Minister Harris said: "There has been significant engagement between the ministers, the chief medical officers, and the departments throughout this pandemic.

"This MOU will ensure timely and responsive communications and decisions in a fast-moving environment, that both administrations will seek to adopt similar approaches, where it is appropriate to do so on the advice of respective chief medical officers.

"I want to thank my colleagues in Northern Ireland for their co-operation to date.

"This is a global pandemic. It knows no borders and we are all in this together.

"It is essential we continue to do everything we can across the island to fight this pandemic."

Minister Swann added: "I want to acknowledge the ongoing collaborative work between my department, the Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board and their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.

"This has been the case from day one and is a reflection of the long standing cooperation and relationships built up over many years.

"We face a common challenge, facing that challenge will test us as never before.

"We will continue to do everything possible to work together for the best possible outcome."

Dr Holohan said: "I am delighted that Dr Michael McBride and I have now finalised the MOU with the full engagement and assistance of respective departments and ministers.

"We have been working closely with our Northern Irish colleagues since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Today's MOU will formalise the close ongoing co-operation that has been taking place."

It comes as three more people have died in Northern Ireland from the virus.

It takes the total death toll there to 73, with 1,255 confirmed cases.


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Cooperation Coronavirus Department Of Health Dr Michael McBride Dr Tony Holohan Memorandum Of Understanding Northern Ireland Robin Swann Simon Harris

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