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Call goes out to ABC Council: ‘Close all leisure centres with immediate effect’

'It will further strengthen our agreed plan as a council to combat COVID19'

Armagh swimming pool Orchard Leisure centre

There have been calls to shut council-owned leisure centres across Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon with immediate effect.

Sinn Fein group leader on council Darren McNally has contacted the chief executive and political parties to request the shutdown as the “threat from COVID19 intensifies”.

And he has called on an urgent meeting of council to be called to address and “make much needed preparations on council’s response to COVID-19”.

He said: “Our approach needs to be people led and community focused.

“As a council we have an obligation to protect both our citizens and our staff – in particular those who work in high risk locations with a high volume of people operating in close proximity and sharing equipment.

“As such we will call for the immediate closure of council-owned leisure centres.

“We will ask that workers than can work from home do so as, social distancing measures are put in place as well as consider other powers at the council’s disposal which will help limit spread.

“Now is not a time for inaction. Sinn Féin reps will continue to work to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities in the time ahead.”

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting has today (Sunday) been confirmed for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

SDLP Group Leader Pete Byrne has welcomed an agreement by all councillors to convene this meeting, which will take place on Monday.

Councillor Byrne said: “I have spoken with the group leaders of Sinn Fein, UUP and DUP regarding future steps that council can take to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“We will discuss all steps possible and work collectively to ensure staff are supported in any decision taken.”

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