Doug Beattie: It is simply not credible to say Sinn Fein were unclear about Covid rules

A letter from Doug Beattie MC MLA:

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, ex leader Gerry Adams, and northern leader Michelle O'Neill with other Sinn Fein members at the Bobby Storey funeral last year. The funeral organisers were Sinn Fein, who sit on the executive that wrote Covid rules. Liam McBurney/PA
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, ex leader Gerry Adams, and northern leader Michelle O'Neill with other Sinn Fein members at the Bobby Storey funeral last year. The funeral organisers were Sinn Fein, who sit on the executive that wrote Covid rules. Liam McBurney/PA

There is a great deal of anger — if not surprise — at the news that none of the 24 Sinn Fein members under investigation are to be prosecuted following the mass gathering of 2,000 people last June at the funeral of IRA terrorist Bobby Storey.

I simply cannot accept that any other political party, organisation, or collection of individuals would have been treated in this manner.

People will be shocked at the level of prior consultation that took place between the PSNI and Sinn Fein, given that literally thousands of other families had to meekly comply with the rules and regulations, and were denied the chance to give their loved ones the funeral they wanted to.

The failure to prosecute is an insult to those families and to the rest of society.

It is simply not credible for the PPS to say the funeral organisers were unclear about the rules.

The funeral organisers were Sinn Fein, who sit on the executive that wrote the rules!

Even if they were not clear, ignorance of the law is no defence.

The PSNI chief constable and senior officers have very serious questions to answer, and they must start at the Policing Board on Thursday.

They are accountable to the Policing Board, and they must explain themselves there.

The Police Ombudsman must now investigate how the police facilitated the breach of rules with Sinn Fein.

But let’s not forget that it is Sinn Fein at fault.

They organised the wake, even ensuring signs were placed to direct people to it.

They planned the funeral, the eulogy at Milltown and the cremation in East Belfast, knowing and deliberately ignoring the restrictions they put in place.

They really are a party of ‘ourselves alone’ — alone they do as they wish.

A privileged party with no consideration for anyone else.

Their actions were and are a disgrace and an affront to a society that has endured so much over this last year.

Doug Beattie MC MLA, Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson

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