Hospitality and retail outlets reopen as NI takes major step out of lockdown
Northern Ireland has taken a major stride out of lockdown as many hospitality and retail outlets reopened their doors after four months of closure.Publicans, cafe owner and restaurateurs are now able to trade outdoors, while all non-essential retailers can pull their shutters up once again.There were long queues outside popular retail outlets such as Primark in Belfast from early on Friday morning as hundreds of shoppers returned to the city centre.Economy Minister Diane Dodds welcomed the relaxations on an early morning visit to Belfast’s Victoria Square shopping centre.Mrs Dodds also highlighted that the Stormont Executive’s delayed high street voucher scheme is set to start operating at the end of the summer, with every adult in Northern Ireland eligible for a £100 prepaid card to spend in the local retail sector.
Northern Ireland will only move forward when the region’s differing identities are respected by all, resigning First Minister Arlene Foster has said.Making her resignation speech to the Assembly chamber, the ousted DUP leader said her time as First Minister may have ended “abruptly” but she vowed to pursue “unfinished business” in championing Northern Ireland in other ways.Mrs Foster, who acknowledged she had not always made the right calls, became emotional as she closed her speech with an appeal for MLAs to act as “good neighbours”.
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Growing tensions between Britain and the European Union threatened to overshadow the Group of Seven summit's conclusion on Sunday, with London accusing France of "offensive" remarks that Northern Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom. Flora Bradley-Watson reports.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove visited Northern Ireland as part of the UK Covid Recovery Programme.Mr Gove visited the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service near Belfast where he met workers who had been on the frontline during the Covid pandemic.He spoke with members of five ambulance crew and staff from the dispatch unit and was also shown around the interior of an emergency ambulance.
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Northern Ireland’s First Minister has urged the public to enjoy their new freedoms, but to be sensible.Arlene Foster was speaking as she visited the Strand Arts Centre in east Belfast along with deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.
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