MLA blasts ‘discriminatory’ Covid passport scheme

MLA blasts ‘discriminatory’ Covid passport scheme

The Covid Certification Scheme is “designed to discriminate” and is “unacceptable”, the Assembnly had been told.

DUP MLA Paul Frew spoke out at Stormont on January 17 as he presented a petition against the scheme signed by 10,000 people, who he said wanted to “record our disgust and abhorrence that an Executive and indeed this Assembly can pass such a discriminatory measure as vaccine certification”.

The petition, organised by Liberty NI, calls the scrapping of the cheme, introduced late last year, which mean hospitality businesses just see proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test result to allow entry.

Mr Frew told the chamber: “This measure – vaccine certification – is one of a number of cruel measures brought in by this Health Minister but this one treats people differently.

“It has also had a terrible impact on business and has created dramatic suffering of downturns in those businesses, not only because people are being prevented from entering their premises, but because many are refusing to play any part in this practise of certification and discrimination.

In a statement, a spokesman for Liberty NI said: “Prior to the introduction of vaccine passports in NI, we warned of the impact on business, the discrimination, and its inability to stop transmission. On every count, the people have been proved right.

“We have had calls from countless individuals and businesses telling us of the negative impact of vaccine passports. Businesses have witnessed a 50% drop in trade since its introduction, while transmission has increased rapidly.”

Mr Frew also hit out at the Executive’s decision to make the wearing of face coverings in certain indoor settings mandatory, claiming many people cannot wear masks due to trauma.