No accountability from Sinn Féin despite holding political rally during pandemic – Carroll MacNeill

-   Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

There has been no accountability from Sinn Féin three months on from a political rally at a cemetery while Covid restrictions for public health reasons were in place, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said there has been no political or personal accountability following the mass gathering on June 30 last where senior Sinn Féin figures gave graveside orations at Belfast’s Miltown cemetery – where no burial took place – on the same day that Bobby Storey was cremated on the other side of the city.

“In June I asked did Mary Lou McDonald stand over the breaching of COVID restrictions on funerals. Whether it was an acceptable or appropriate political choice for the Dublin leadership of Sinn Féin to travel to Belfast for a funeral that they knew would be big. Whether it was acceptable to participate in a separate political rally in Miltown cemetery that had nothing to do with the funeral service. Bobby Storey was not buried there. He was cremated at Roselawn crematorium, 14km away from Milltown Cemetery on the Falls Road,” Deputy MacNeill said.

Both Gerry Adams and Pearse Doherty addressed the graveside rally and can be witnessed here from 25 seconds on:

“Today, Michelle O’Neill has belatedly recognised the harm it caused to her being able to credibly deliver public health guidance in Northern Ireland.

“We all know we have had our own troubles with events that should not have happened, a dinner in obvious contravention of good public health practice, and I am glad there has been direct individual political accountability for those involved.

“It was essential to help keep our collective acceptance of the restrictions that COVID has placed on our lives.

“But in Sinn Féin there still has been no political or personal accountability. And no Dublin apology.

“It was reasonable and justified to ask Mary Lou to account for the attendance of her and her party leadership at this event.

“The response from Sinn Féin was defensive and tried to justify on the grounds of bereavement and celebrating the life of a friend, only hurting even more those many families we all know who had so few friends beside them to help shoulder their own very personal losses.

“Those many of us who asked these pretty reasonable questions of a political party were accused by of playing politics, political opportunism, bad taste, lack of compassion or being a ‘Dublin Unionist’, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

“Will Sinn Féin leader Deputy McDonald now apologise and acknowledge her own role as the political leader of Sinn Féin? Or is it still one rule for Sinn Féin and one rule for everyone else,” Deputy MacNeill asked.

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