News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

O'Neill Banner.JPG
O'Neill Thub.JPG
UK News

NI Deputy First Minister says churches won't meet and lockdown likely to be extended

by Premier Journalist

The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill, has urged people not to get their hopes up in anticipation of the country's lockdown measures being reviewed next week. 

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland's The View on Thursday evening, the Sinn Fein politician warned that any potential changes to the current Covid-19 restrictions would be "gradual and slow." 

O'Neill's comments came after Environment Minister Edwin Poots suggested that churches should be able to open with social distancing measures in place. The minister said that the public now fully understands the need for taking precautions and insisted that if off-licenses were allowed to operate, churches should be open too. Mr Poots said that Northern Ireland had "put coronavirus into reverse," through strict observance to the lockdown rules, and suggested that "drive-in" churches should be considered.  

“If you have a church where you can’t facilitate social distancing but people want to come together, can you do it in drive-in churches, for example, so that people don’t get out of their cars and they listen to the service through the radio but they still gather?" he asked.

“Those are all questions that we as an Executive have to look at.”

O'Neill insisted that his comments were "unhelpful." 

There is no "quick fix," she said. "We're going to have to work our way through it as best as we can."

As of Friday, Northern Ireland has logged 365 coronavirus-related deaths. Out of 23,381 people tested, 3,623 have been confirmed to have the disease.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.