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Mother of Co Armagh pupil with health problems seek judicial review over failure to close schools

'The wider international community has spoken. Their advice cannot and should not be ignored'

A Co Armagh mother – whose child has underlying health problems – is to seek a judicial review into a decision not to close schools in Northern Ireland.

The primary school girl has severe asthma, among other ailments, which has led her mother to seek a legal course in the absence of school closures in this jurisdiction.

Belfast-based Phoenix Law has been instructed on the matter.

In a statement it confirmed: “Our client’s daughter suffers underlying health problems, including severe asthma and therefore is at a greater risk of harm should she contract the coronavirus.

“It is our client’s case that the current position is unlawful and contrary to the necessary protections afforded to all citizens under the human rights act.

“For these reasons, we have been instructed to put the various public bodies on notice of our intention to apply for judicial review.”

The action comes after no decision was taken to close schools in Northern Ireland despite such an embargo in the Republic.

Education Minister Peter Weir has said he does not feel the time is right.

But Daragh Mackin, who represents the Co Armagh mother, said: “It is clear that the respective public bodies have each failed in their respective obligations to our client, and indeed all children, by continuing to require their attendance at school in circumstances in which they would be at an increased risk of contracting the condition.

“There is no time for any further delay. The necessary policies and decisions all need to be taken in a manner that recognises the real and immediate risk.

“The wider international community has spoken. Their advice cannot and should not be ignored.”

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