Foster and O’Neill cancel trip to Washington to deal with Covid-19 response

Date published: 10 March 2020

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have cancelled their planned trip to Washington for the St Patrick’s celebrations to support the ongoing efforts to deal with Covid-19.


The First Minister and deputy First Minister took their decision this morning to allow them to participate in ongoing critical contingency planning meetings.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “This has been a difficult decision but we felt that in the light of the developing situation it was the only one we could take.

“The deputy First Minister and I were both involved in yesterday’s COBR meeting and will continue to engage with ministerial colleagues and health professionals to ensure our response is guided by the latest scientific advice. While it is disappointing to cancel this important trip, our focus has to be on fulfilling our role in protecting public health.”

The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “As leaders of the Executive it is important that we support critical decision making in relation to the Covid-19 response.

“We deeply value our relationship with the United States and are committed to developing and strengthening those links. I look forward to visiting the US in the future as we continue our efforts to attract further inward investment and visitors to our shores.”

Economy Minister Diane Dodds will attend a number of engagements with influential stakeholders over the coming days in Washington to deliver the message that Northern Ireland is open for business.

Notes to editors: 

Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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