It would be better to examine the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein than blame PSNI chief constable for Bobby Storey funeral

A letter from Rev David Clements:

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:08 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:31 pm
Simon Byrne left himself open to scrutiny on the Nolan radio show yesterday, where he gave reassuring answers

I understand the frustration, anger and resentment that is so widespread following the Bobby Storey funeral fiasco.

During lockdown I have conducted about a dozen funerals and in each case the rules did fluctuate.

It is possible that I bent the rules slightly on a few occasions, but never were the regulations flagrantly disregarded.

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In every case the family were not able to have the kind of funeral we would have had in ‘normal times’.

This newspaper, and others, have covered the many concerns very well.

I share many of those concerns.

One call I do not agree with, is for the head of the chief constable Simon Byrne on a platter.

I rarely listen to the BBC Nolan radio show, but I gave careful attention to every question put to the chief constable and his assistant, Alan Todd, yesterday.

Their answers, and openness to such scrutiny certainly reassured me.

I had in fact already written to the chief constable the day before. Here are two paragraphs from that letter.

“I have been meaning to write to you for some time just to thank you for all the work you are doing and to encourage you. This afternoon seemed a good time to write such a letter. I am a humble and not very important churchman, but I have perhaps more than average empathy for you, and all your colleagues who put on that bottle green uniform — as you may know, my father was shot dead in it, on a dark night in December 1985.”

I concluded the letter with this.

“We all make mistakes of course, but one of the toughest tasks in leadership is sometimes having to carry the can for the mistakes of others. In a complicated society where many things are contested, your vital role as chief constable is not any easy one. I thank you again for taking it on and offer you my support and encouragement.”

I have sympathy for every family bereaved during this pandemic, including the family of Bobby Storey.

It is very sad that the Storey funeral has left a bad smell in Northern Ireland.

Those looking to apportion blame should not be sniffing outside the chief constable’s office but recognising the stench of hypocrisy coming from Sinn Fein

Rev David Clements, Methodist minister, Cullbackey

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