Space to Police

Simon Byrne is the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Today he writes for Slugger about the policing challenges during the COVID 19 pandemic  2021 is a defining year for policing. The Police Service of Northern Ireland will have been around for two decades. The world around us has changed so much in those 20 years and whilst new opportunities and issues have emerged, the challenges of the past still remain very much in the present for …

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Reflecting on the lockdown diary.

A friend of mine on Instagram recently posted a note from a journal they have been keeping from this time last year which simply said “fed up of hearing about COVID 19.” Little did we know, what was about to hit us. I took a look back at a journal that I started jotting down brief thoughts in since 2019. They are mostly just odd reflections and goals that I want to remind myself of. When I look back to …

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In a time of unprecedented threat, we need calm heads, and an ability to change our minds.

I do not think I need to overly emphasise how chaotic of a start to the year 2021 has been. From spiralling Covid-19 cases both sides of the border caused by a strain that came from Britain, the effects of Brexit, vaccinations programmes some of which have been thrown in the dark by pharmaceutical companies promising the world and the sun, any mention of an ‘All-Island Approach’ and not to forget, the heavy daily debates which surround all of the …

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New Poll shows 65% support all island approach to travel restrictions

A Lucid Talk poll has surveyed residents of Northern Ireland’s attitudes towards travel restrictions. As some of you have become aware there has been a topic of growing debate as the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish government disagree over the level of cooperation between the two administrations. For those of you needing a catch up, the Irish government have since the new year started messaging their support for an all island approach for travel restrictions but the politics in …

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Real world pressures are complicating neat arguments over unification

I begin with  more inexplicable partitionism from Dublin, as discussed by Newton who has a hawkeye for this subject “Genuine mystery surrounds the Irish Government’s lengthy refusal to share Covid passenger data with Northern Ireland. The Government will not explain it and nobody else can see what the issue might be. There is increasing urgency for a solution as Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland introduce negative Covid test requirements for travellers, with varying sets of self-isolation periods that cannot be …

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Hospitals reaching crisis point, just as infection rates tail off everywhere but around the border..

It’s striking how Ireland (north and south) now seems to be cooling its infection rates quicker than any single administration in Britain. Now, that’s just as well, because as Gav Reilly points out on Twitter, the situation in the south’s hospital system is close to bursting… Yesterday’s hospital stats – 193 in ICU, 22 beds left available. There are 299 people in intensive care, including non-COVID patients, which is higher than the standard national full-time capacity (gone from 255 to …

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“Covid-19 does not care about the Battle of the Boyne…”

These were words ushered by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in a recent Newstalk interview when asked about an all-island approach being adopted to tackle Covid-19. The irritation in his voice evident. The events over the past week will only strengthen his contempt for the Northern Ireland Executive. His Northern Ireland counterpart, Robin Swann, claimed they were blindsided by Ireland’s ban on travel from Britain and did not see it coming. Quite an extraordinary claim given the heavy media speculation …

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Why other countries should draw inspiration from the Irish Government’s early response to the Covid-19 pandemic

When an outbreak of a virus such as Covid-19 occurs, where vaccines, drug treatments and high levels of testing do not yet exist, the communication that is delivered in the early days, both accurate and credible, is by the far the strongest medicine in any government’s arsenal. The reality is, in these early days, the capability of the virus is relatively unknown. Given the number of people infected by coronavirus around the world was minimal at the start, the data …

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