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NHS and health care staff who live and work in Newry, Mourne and Down Council District will be given half price entry to recreation facilities.

Members of the Active and Healthy Communities committee made the decision at a meeting on June 21 which will be ratified at the July full Council meeting.

Newry Leisure is one of the facilities where NHS and health care staff will receive a discount. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Newry Leisure is one of the facilities where NHS and health care staff will receive a discount. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The motion, which was brought forward by Independent councillor Glyn Hanna, received cross-party support.

Mr Hanna said that the motion was brought forward to show support to NHS staff ‘as a thank-you for their working during the Covid-19 crisis’.

The new discount applies to various facilities across Newry, Mourne and Down, including swimming, leisure centres, tennis courts and gym facilities for a period of one year.

Speaking on the motion, Mr Hanna said: “I have brought this motion to council to give all councillors the opportunity to express their gratitude in a practical way to all NHS staff who stepped up to the mark during the pandemic.

“At the start of the pandemic no health worker in the NHS understood what the risks were and what they were facing.

“A lot of NHS staff are on low wages, none more so than our nurses, with many receiving less than £12 per hour and let’s not forget our student nurses who were on the frontline and getting no pay at all.

“I believe Newry, Mourne and Down council need to show recognition to our NHS staff in a way that would deliver physically and mentally to those dedicated themselves to saving others.

“I know there will be a cost to the council in delivering this but if we don’t value health care then we would not be living up to our responsibilities.”

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