Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland public sector strike: Impact on services

Some public sector trade unions are taking industrial action on Friday over budget cuts and job losses. BBC News NI looks at how the strike will impact. More information is available on NI Direct.

Schools

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Media captionMaggie Taggart looks at how the strike will affect schools and colleges in Northern Ireland

The Department of Education has said it is the responsibility of school principals to decide if their school will remain open.

Members of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, which represents mainly Catholic teachers, is the only teaching union who voted for strike action.

As a result, Catholic schools are likely to be most affected.

The body that oversees Catholic education in Northern Ireland, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), has said all schools should remain open, if not for children, then for teachers and other staff who do not want to strike.

However, with canteen and bus and train staff likely to take action, some schools have asked only senior and exam classes to come in, using alternative transport. They have told pupils to bring packed lunches as school catering staff may be involved in industrial action.

Parents should liaise with schools regarding attendance on Friday and consider making alternative arrangements to get children to school where possible.

Transport

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Media captionBBC News NI's Michael Fitzpatrick looks at how the strike will affect public transport

There will be no Ulsterbus services on Friday except the express Belfast to Dublin service at 23:00 GMT.

The air link buses that service George Best City Airport and Belfast International Airport will also not be running.

No trains, local or Enterprise, will run either.

Bus √Čireann services between Belfast and Dublin will operate on Friday from Glengall Street (service marked BE above departure times).

Bus √Čireann service 33 from Derry to Dublin will also operate (services marked BE above departure times).

Translink has put procedures in place to reimburse the value of a day's travel for any customers who had pre-purchased tickets.

Police will not be enforcing bus lanes during the strike action on Friday, but this does not apply to the hard shoulder the buses use on motorways.

Strangford ferry - the company said it would not know if services would be affected until Friday morning.

Health

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Media captionBBC News NI Health Correspondent Marie-Louise Connolly looks at how the strike will affect health services

The Department of Health have said arrangements have been put in place to ensure "critical services will be maintained".

Cover will be provided for emergency services and activities.

This will include some outpatients, inpatients and the most vulnerable who require care in a community setting and in residential and children's homes.

Non-critical planned procedures and appointments have been cancelled.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service declared a "major incident" on Thursday night, which means paramedics who were due to begin strike action at midnight must continue working.

Jobs and Benefits offices

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The Social Security Agency may be operating a reduced service.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS) may be operating a reduced telephone service and, if you do phone, waiting times for a response may be longer.

Courts

Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service is working to minimise any disruption to court business.

It anticipates that the number of cases listed will be lower than a normal Friday, as fewer cases have been adjourned to Friday 13 March.

When dealing with cases, judges will be mindful of the wider issues relating to access to public transport and the impact of caring responsibilities if schools are closed, particularly where a party to the proceedings is not present.

Driver and Vehicle Agency test centres and offices

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The Department of the Environment said anyone with an MOT test booked for Friday should attend their test centre as normal.

It said every effort would be made to alert customers to potential disruption or cancellation and said customers could contact their test centre to confirm arrangements in advance of the test time on the day.

If insufficient staff are available to deliver booked tests, a new appointment will be made at no additional cost and at the earliest possible opportunity.

Libraries

Libraries NI is advising anyone planning to go to their library to contact the library before travelling, to check if it is open.

Fire service

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said its members were not taking part in the industrial action so service would not be affected.

Prisons

The NI Prison Service said it was not anticipating any disruption to prison visits.

However, where visitors are late due to public transport difficulties, it will not be possible to extend visiting times and visitors may wish to consider rescheduling.

Museums

Image copyright NMNI

National Museums Northern Ireland anticipates that the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and Ulster American Folk Park may be affected.

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