A man wearing a protective mask during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine

Heated debate over COVID restrictions rumbles on

Yesterday councillors debated the CO-VID precautions that may need to be implemented in the interest of public health and to what degree face masks should be made compulsory.

Councillor Dobbins claimed that research has shown that the spread of CO-VID is linked directly to droplets from the mouth that are spread through coughing, talking, and sneezing. Her motion proposed that “ministerial guidance” be brought forward in terms of ensuring that the laws surrounding face coverings is enforced in the same manner that it is in England. She proposed that a medical exemption card be introduced into mainstream society for those unfit to wear face coverings. She claimed that this will “prevent embarrassment and discrimination” towards these individuals and legislate for why they are in public without protection.

Councillor Logue claimed that the introduction of medical exemption cards would make the whole process of protecting from CO-VID “too bureaucratic”. She believed that fixation on just the masks is not sufficient on its own and that it should be part of a “comprehensive package” that is focused on adhering to government guidelines and maintaining a safe social distance.

Councillor McCloskey opposed the motion. She sent in a freedom of information request to the executive and the health minister asking for evidence about the complete effectiveness of masks which she did not receive.  She referred to the “psychological impact” of forcing children to wear masks and the physical dangers such as an increase in respiratory diseases that studies show prove to be linked with wearing masks. She also claimed the lack of standardisation and the fact that “you can wear any piece of cloth over your face and expect it to work is nonsense.”

Other councillors such as councillor Ferguson and councillor McClintock believed that Dobbins’ proposal was sufficient.

The motion passed with 43 supporting and 12 opposing.