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Robin Swann considering legal advice over lifting remaining Covid restrictions

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-02-10

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Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann is considering legal advice over lifting Covid restrictions.

He sought guidance following the resignation of first minister Paul Givan last week which also removed deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill from the joint office.

While the remaining ministers are still in post they are unable introduce any new business, and can only progress work already in the system.

It is believed the advice from the Attorney General Brenda King has highlighted potential legal complications of Minister Swann acting without the wider endorsement of an Executive.

Executive approval is ordinarily required for decisions that are significant, controversial or cross cutting.

It is understood Mr Swann is now considering whether lifting the remaining restrictions cross those thresholds.

On Thursday afternoon Mr Swann confirmed he has received “detailed legal advice on the factors that need to be considered when seeking to amend Executive Covid regulations in the absence of an Executive”.

He added: “This advice is now being given careful consideration and it is my intention to engage with ministerial colleagues.”

It was thought to be unlikely on Thursday afternoon that Mr Swann will make any definitive decisions on lifting restrictions on the same day.

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