Two biological tests are being used in the UK to control the spread of COVID-19: (1) the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR, or PCR) test; and (2) the lateral flow device (LFD) test.
PCR tests tend to be used for people showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, while LFD tests are used for more widespread testing, including identifying asymptomatic people (who do not show symptoms but may be carrying the virus).
This article explains current understanding around LFD tests for COVID-19. FactCheckNI has previously published an article that looked in detail at PCR tests. Continue reading Lateral flow device tests for COVID-19
Background: worries about Brexit and pets
Before the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, FactCheckNI published a fact check on the claim that pet owners travelling from Northern Ireland to Ireland already required “EU pet passports”. We found this claim to be accurate.
Now that the UK has withdrawn from the EU, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (“the Northern Ireland Protocol”) is in operation. The Protocol affects the movement of goods and services between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This article sets out to explain the current understanding in regards to the transport of pets between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Continue reading Pets and the Northern Ireland Protocol
CLAIM: Business rates on Main Street in Larne are the same as Regent Street in London.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Higher property values in Regent Street mean that average rates are much higher there than Main Street in Larne. Continue reading Are business rates in Larne the same as Regent Street in London?
CLAIM: Three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. The claim that three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union is based on evidence from a research survey commissioned on behalf of the University of Liverpool. It found that 76.9% of respondents who are non-voters who stated a constitutional preference chose “to remain part of the UK”. FactCheckNI has not found evidence of other surveys recording constitutional preferences of non-voters, but future surveys may provide more information about this cohort. Continue reading Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?
CLAIM: The DOJ and NIO joint fund an £8 million a year Programme for Tackling Paramilitary Activity and Organised Crime that funds engagement directly with paramilitary organisations, such as the UVF, UFF, RHC, and UDA.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The cross-department Executive Programme for Tackling Paramilitary Activity and Organised Crime receives funds from the Northern Ireland Executive, and is not jointly funded by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). To date, there is no evidence of funds being provided for engagement directly with paramilitary organisations by the programme.
Continue reading Do the DOJ and NIO joint fund an £8 million a year programme to engage directly with paramilitary organisations?
The publication of polling data about changing levels of party support in Northern Ireland has led to speculation about which parties might be in a position to nominate one of their MLAs to be First or deputy First Minister after future elections. In particular, there has been conjecture that an enlarged Alliance Party team could potentially nominate the deputy First Minister if their results surpassed those of the DUP or Sinn Féin.
Fact checkers don’t predict future events. This article explores the process currently in place that decides who leads Northern Ireland’s devolved government so you can understand how the process would be followed after the next election. Continue reading The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers