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Northern Ireland’s health minister condemns attack on Belfast pharmacist

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Northern Ireland (NIR)’s health minister Robin Swann has condemned the act of violence experienced by pharmacy teams, stating such acts “will not be tolerated.”

His statement follows an ugly incident that took place on Saturday (March 5) at the Teagues Pharmacy, Antrim Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Conor McAreavey from Teagues Pharmacy told the BBC that on Saturday a man entered the shop at about 17:30 GMT and used a hammer to break through a Covid protection screen, and stabbed him in hand before fleeing the premises.

He added that such attacks on pharmacists had become a “trend”.

Condemning the attack, Swann said: “Abuse or assaults of any kind on health and social care staff will not be tolerated. I was appalled to hear of the assault on the community pharmacist at the weekend.

“Pharmacists work at the very heart of our communities, providing a critical health service for everyone. They deserve our utmost respect and amiration.

“My thoughts are very much with the pharmacist and the wider pharmacy team.”

Reacting to the news, Gerard Greene, chief executive of Community Pharmacy NI said: “This was a horrible attack on a pharmacy team going about their normal job helping people on a Saturday afternoon. We utterly condemn this behavior. “An attack on a local community pharmacy team impacts lots of people who rely on us. Our thoughts are with the pharmacist who was stabbed in the hand and the pharmacy staff who were subjected to this horrendous ordeal”

“We would reiterate the call by the PSNI for anyone who witnessed anything to contact them or Crimestoppers.”

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