Revelations that Sinn Féin shared details of Bobby Storey’s funeral with thousands of party members and told them his wake was open to the public demonstrates a blatant disregard for public safety, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Emer Currie was speaking after it emerged that Sinn Féin emailed details of the funeral in Belfast on June 30th with its supporters and failed to make any reference to public health restrictions or limits on outdoor gatherings that were in place at the time.
Senator Currie said, “It is time that Sinn Féin owned up to what was a coordinated disregard of public health rules, an event which is now being investigated by the PSNI over alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
“The fact that senior Sinn Fein leaders joined others in attending this funeral undermined the public health message from authorities in the North and South. It also caused anger and upset for understandable reasons, at a time when so many families were unable to give their loved ones a proper goodbye during the pandemic.
“Reports today state that the email, sent by the party’s general secretary Ken O’Connell, said the wake of the deceased would be open to the public.
“The party also informed supporters of a graveside oration at Belfast’s Milltown cemetery – which had nothing to do with the funeral service.
“This email shows that this was not a spontaneous event or a momentary lapse of judgement by the political figures in attendance.
“Not only did they damage public health messaging at a crucial time, they also damaged relationships across communities in the North who needed to come together to fight the pandemic. Now when the Covid case numbers are so perilous in the North, which impacts the whole Island, will Sinn Féin show us all that the rules apply to everyone?
“It also emerged last week that five months after the funeral, no one from the leadership of Sinn Fein has engaged with investigators appointed by the PSNI in any meaningful way whatsoever.
“It is time for Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, who travelled from Dublin to Belfast for the funeral, to confirm if she was one of the individuals who was written to by the investigators appointed by PSNI and will she cooperate with the investigation as she said she would?,” Senator Currie concluded.