The health spokesperson for Northern Ireland's Alliance Party has cancelled a family holiday in Italy after criticism of the trip.

Paula Bradshaw, MLA for South Belfast, had earlier defended the scheduled holiday, despite public health guidance advising against non-essential travel.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland today, Ms Bradshaw criticised travel advice from the British government, saying there were massive absurdities around the guidance.

She said travel corridors were making Northern Ireland very vulnerable and she would like to see a more consistent whole island of Ireland approach to travel.

Ms Bradshaw also said she and her family were travelling to Italy, through Dublin, next Saturday.

She explained that on return, her family would follow whatever travel advice is given in their local town.

She said it was a measured decision and they would take precautions and not do anything to put anyone else in jeopardy on their return

Speaking to the BBC this morning, she said everyone was entitled to a private life and that her family would comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

"We will be respectful of the restrictions in place in Italy and when we come back here, we will be respectful of the restrictions here," she said.

But later the Alliance Party issued a statement and Ms Bradshaw posted a series of tweets saying she had changed her mind.

"Like many people, I have a holiday booked, in my case to Italy," she said.

"I should be clear when I said I would operate within the guidance, that obviously includes not travelling if the regulations and guidance at the time state that I should not do so. That is currently the case.

"It is important everyone, particularly in representative roles, adheres both to the spirit and letter of that guidance.

"I love Italy, and look forward to travelling there again when it is safe to do so!"


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Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster said it was not for her to tell people whether they should proceed with foreign holidays.

She noted there were around 60 countries on Northern Ireland's green list and people travelling to and from those destinations would not have to self-isolate when they come home.

Ms O'Neill said the Alliance Party's health spokesperson, Paula Bradshaw MLA, was right to cancel a planned family holiday to Italy.

Additional reporting: Vincent Kearney