WHILE news of further restrictions in the Republic has caused anxiety with some commuters, one Fermanagh pharmacist isn’t worried about the new rules and restrictions on cross-Border crossings.
Enniskillen pharmacist John Slowey, who runs RJS Pharmacy in Drumshambo alongside Derrygonnelly man Ryan Jones, has been travelling across the Border for several years to work in the Republic as a pharmacist.
The pair opened their pharmacy in December, 2019, with their pharmacy work classing the pair as essential workers who can continue their cross-Border travels.
Speaking to The Impartial Reporter about the situation, John said: “Both of us have worked in the south for the past few years. The lockdown was the first year we had been stopped by anyone.
“Thankfully, we haven’t been stopped by anyone in the past few weeks.” 
John had previously been stopped in Belcoo by the PSNI when crossing the Border to head to work, and in Blacklion by gardai as part of their restrictions monitoring.
While travelling to Dublin for work, he was stopped up to three times during the Republic’s initial lockdown in March.
John did not encounter much trouble while crossing the Border for work. He said: “In fairness, there has not been much trouble. We are not too worried about the new restrictions.
“I don’t think it will cause us too much anxiety. We are allowed to travel for essential purposes and we are essential workers as pharmacists.”
Some of the pharmacy staff had encountered some problems earlier this year when travelling through Leitrim and other parts of the Republic to come to work.
John said: “One staff member was asked, ‘If you’re not the pharmacist, are you essential?’ by gardai”, who were ensuring that people stayed within county boundaries or, in the case of the early stages of the lockdown, when people were not allowed to travel far away from their home. 
On the business side of things, John says he is “fortunate” that the business has been supported well by locals.
He said: “We are fortunate that when we opened in December, we were supported by the locals; we were only open two or three months and then people were restricted.”
For now, under the Republic’s Level Three restrictions, people must stay in their own county unless they are travelling for work, school or other essential purposes. 
Across Leitrim, figures remained relatively low during the pandemic. John said: “Leitrim has been one of the places that got off lightly. The figures in Leitrim were quite small.
“There is less of a concern over closing because it is a pharmacy we are running.”