Tension palpable as Nolan grills Storey funeral investigator
The Nolan Show today included an in-depth interview with the man behind the latest Storey funeral report – with the tension between the two men palpable at times.
Matt Parr, a former Royal Navy submariner who is now in charge of overseeing the work of much of the UK’s emergency services, was grilled specifically on why he was withholding details about the company Sinn Fein hired to help marshall the funeral.
Mr Parr – whose full title is Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services – shared the following exchange with Stephen Nolan, which the News Letter is reporting word-for word:
Nolan: This is an events planning company, your report says, used frequently by Sinn Fein. They passed the planning document to the PSNI. Who is that events planning company? What’s their name?
Parr: We chose not to reveal the name of the planning company in the report.
Parr: Uhh... because we didn’t think it’d make the report clear. And there might be some criticism of us for doing so.
Nolan: From whom?
Parr: That’s the answer you’re getting on this one Stephen, I’m afraid.
Nolan: You’ve used names. You named Gerry Kelly in the report. You talk about deputy chief constables – so we know who they are. You talk about gold commanders – we know who they are in NI.
Who was the events company?
Parr: I’m choosing not to name the events company.
Parr: Uhh... because I’ve decided it would be a better idea not to.
Nolan: Were you prevented from legally naming this events company?
Parr: Absolutely not... we made a decision about whether it was an ethical and fair thing to name the events company, and we chose not to.
Nolan: You said the events company would not even respond to you. What type of questions did you ask them?
Parr: We asked them if they’d come and be interviewed and give us their side of the story. And they chose not to.
Nolan: Were they licenced?
Parr: Err... for what?
Nolan: To provide the function that they did at this funeral?
Parr: I don’t know.
Nolan: You cannot be serious.
Parr: What sort of... Is that a question, or...?
Nolan: An events company which was taking a leading role in this funeral, which was protecting the health of the country essentially, because the police stood back...
You don’t know if they were licenced?
Parr: It didn’t seem to me to be a key point in answering the questions I was asked to answer by the justice minister and the NI Policing Board.
The Private Security Industry Act 2001 created the Security Industry Authority, which regulates individuals and firms that provide security guard services.
Mr Parr went on to stress that he had a five-week window to prepare his report and had to stick tightly to the terms-of-reference.
Mr Parr has been in his current role for about five years.
Before that, his career in the Royal Navy was an illustrious one.
He rose to the rank of rear-admiral, headed up the whole Submarine Service, and was also the Royal Navy’s director of operations.
He is also a specialist in counter-terrorism.
More from this reporter:
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