By Andrée Murphy,
When Michelle O’Neill paused in her answers to the Stormont chamber this week, she reflected heartfelt concerns in these days of uncertainty.
Jim Allister had asked her about his constituent, a woman of 32 years with a young child, whose treatment for cancer has been upended as the Health Service tries to meet the challenges presented by Covid-19. He asked her what he should say to her.
Michelle O’Neill has been engaged with the facts around this virus. The fact that it is spread by contact. The fact that it is merciless when it finds the right victim. The fact that when it meets some people modern medicine is very limited. The fact that many people will be killed by it. She has seen documents we only learn exist in Sunday papers, which outline scenarios which speak of thousands. Thousands of sick. Thousands of dead. Briefings which speak of a Health Service, already depleted and not coping with current demand. A Health Service which needs to make choices in this climate. Choices that are unconscionable.
In the face of those papers, discussions and briefings Michelle O’Neill has broken the consensus of delay from Executive government. She has demanded more action. First with saying schools must close, then saying there needs to be comprehensive testing, then saying there needed to be limits to freedom of movement.
Click here to read the full article published by Belfast Media Group on 29 March 2020.