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Executive marks International Workers’ Memorial Day

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The Executive has called on the people of Northern Ireland to come together at 11am on Tuesday to observe a minute of silence to commemorate all those who have been killed, injured or have contracted an occupational illness at work.

Trade unions mark International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April every year. In Belfast, there is usually a ceremony on Stormont Estate. This year the ceremony has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister of Health, Robin Swann, said: “International Workers’ Memorial Day is an important, annual international commemoration. It is brought into even sharper focus for us this year as we battle Covid-19. I know that the main health and social care unions have suggested a minute of silence and I wholeheartedly endorse this proposal, as does the Executive as whole.

“Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care employers will be marking the minute of silence wherever possible, and I hope that others do the same.

“Whilst our thoughts are with health and social care workers in particular this year, we cannot forget the sacrifices made by all other workers, both at this time, and in the past too – across all sectors.”

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The Executive is united in its support for International Workers Memorial Day. This is our opportunity as a community to come together to remember all of those who, in their selfless devotion to the care of others, have lost their lives.

“I urge everyone to join with us in a minute’s silence at 11am on Tuesday. It is a small but important act of gratitude to those workers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others, and to the families and friends who have suffered their loss.”

The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “This is an important day each year and in 2020 it is particularly timely and poignant as we think of all those frontline workers who, in spite of the risk to themselves, are going out to work each day to serve the public in the fight back against Covid-19.

“We remember especially today all those health and care workers across the world who have lost their lives treating and caring for people through this pandemic. I will be thinking of them as I observe a minute’s silence at 11am on 28th April and I encourage as many people as possible to do the same.”

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