Editorial: A worthless, cynical 'apology' from Michelle O'Neill for her role at the helm of the mass Covid breach at the Bobby Storey IRA terrorist funeral

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News Letter editorial on Wednesday May 15 2024:

​Make no mistake about the so-called apology from Michelle O’Neill to the Covid inquiry.

​It was a scripted, it was cynical, it was four years too late. But more fundamentally, it should never have been needed because in any normal political environment she would have been dismissed at the time for her brazen hypocrisy. But no. Ms O’Neill on the contrary is Northern Ireland’s first minister, it having been clear all along that she would get away with the Bobby Storey terrorist funeral mass Covid breach.

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That it was scripted was clear when Ms O’Neill said to the inquiry that she wanted to address the families, but was told by the inquiry KC that she was there to give evidence, not make public addresses – a slapping down that almost never happens to Sinn Fein in this society.

It was cynical because this worthless ‘apology’ came four years almost to the month after the funeral scandal, and only because Sinn Fein knew that this inquiry would not operate in the spineless, pandering way that the authorities here typically do towards republicans, which is never to challenge, never to probe, never to find against.

And it should not have been needed because a party so hypocritical as to be most shrill about demanding lockdowns, then behind the biggest breach of it, should see its vote collapse but SF’s vote within nationalist Ireland has only risen since then.

To recap: while tens of thousands of people across NI dutifully obeyed funeral restrictions that lasted two years, into 2022, Ms O’Neill and Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald were at the helm of a mass Covid breach for an IRA thug, facilitated fully by the PSNI. Belfast City Council closed Roselawn for this crew. The later inquiries into this outrageous special treatment for a terrorist effectively found no-one to blame for it all.

Meanwhile, a defiant Ms O’Neill said she would never apologise for attending the funeral of a friend, and her party returned to sanctimony over lockdown.