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17.51 14 Oct 2020


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Schools will remain open in border counties if those counties are moved to level four, the Education Minister has said.

A four week partial lockdown - which includes an extended mid-term break for schools - will come into effect in Northern Ireland on Friday.

Cabinet ministers in Dublin will meet this evening to decide whether or not to move border counties to level four restrictions in response to the situation in the North.

However, Minister Norma Foley this afternoon said public health officials insist it is safe for schools to continue.

She said: "I think all of society is very keen we would maintain our schools open - and that's what we intend to do."

Meanwhile, the Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said the Government will take "whatever measures we believe are necessary" to protect lives and livelihoods.

Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, she said: "The decision, of course, will be made at Cabinet later on today.

"As a TD from Cavan-Monaghan, I know businesses in the border region are extremely worried about the prospect of increased restrictions.

"If that does happen, this Government will not be found wanting in providing the necessary supports."

Minister Humphreys said we've already seen situations where local restrictions were introduced - such as those introduced for Kildare, Laois and Offaly during the summer.

She said such measures had a "positive effect", so the Government will continue to take any necessary measures for other counties.

Reporting by Kacey O'Riordan and Stephen McNeice
Main image: File photo of Norma Foley. Picture by: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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