Michelle O’Neill needs to issue unreserved public apology over actions at Storey funeral, says Farry

Michelle O’Neill needs to issue an unreserved public apology regarding her actions at the Bobby Storey funeral, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.

The Public Prosecution Service announced it was not recommending prosecution for anyone in relation to the funeral, which saw 2,000 mourners attend at a time when strict limits were in place.

“My thoughts and sympathies remain with anyone who lost a loved one during this pandemic and who was unable to mourn them how they would have wished. I thank them for following the rules. I know their pain has not disappeared, and in fact, has likely been reawakened by today’s news,” said North Down MP Dr Farry.

“Sinn Féin flaunted the rules on this occasion, which was made all the more hurtful given it was Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, who stands at Executive press conferences to encourage people to follow the rules, involved. It undermined the entire messaging of the Executive and others last year – Michelle O’Neill needs to issue an unreserved, unambiguous public apology on the matter, and now show some leadership. The onus lies with Sinn Féin to belatedly take responsibility for their actions.

“People are rightly angry at the party over this matter and this will have reopened old wounds. But regardless of that, I would encourage the public to continue to follow the public health guidance as we seek to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. We have come so far and are close to the finishing line.

“Whilst the credibility of some politicians is in tatters, people should continue to follow the advice from respected medical and scientific leaders, and realise if they breach the regulations, they will only end up hurting themselves or their loved ones.”