A group of Belfast barbers have threatened the Northern Ireland Executive with legal action over the region’s strict coronavirus restrictions. The businessmen are also challenging the Executive on its decision-making process that led to the regulations coming into force.
The barbers include Sean Lawlor of Cambridge Barbershop, Andrew Kavanagh of Camlough Barbers, David Lutton of The Corner Barbershop, and Padraig McShane of Cut N Edge.
The Northern Ireland Executive announced that close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, were among a range of businesses required to close until November 13.
A scientific paper that guided the Executive’s recent decisions on the introduction of the circuit-break, estimated the closure of hairdressers and beauticians could reduce the virus’s reproduction number (R number) by 0.05. The paper was published as part of an initiative by the Department of Health to increase transparency around the decision-making process.
The group say they are concerned about the “scientific, medical, epidemiological evidence” and how it has been interpreted by Government ministers.
Darragh Mackin, Partner, representing the group notes in his correspondence, “For one thing, the process by which the proposed respondents concluded that closing down ‘close contact’ services could (or would) reduce the R number by ‘up to 0.05’ is wholly unclear,”
“We will be seeking disclosure of the raw data that was used to come to that figure and an explanation as to how these figures are calculated, to include some indication as to margin of error.”
The group also argues that the Covid-19 policies are not consistent, as churches have remained open, despite being able to offer services online.