Bobby Storey funeral row: UUP joins calls for Simon Byrne to resign

The Ulster Unionist Party has joined calls for PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne to resign.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 7:21 am
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 9:47 am

Party leader Steve Aiken said it has become “very clear” that the senior leadership of the PSNI has “failed” and it is time for him to quit.

The DUP, TUV and PUP have already called on Mr Byrne to resign.

It follows the decision by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) earlier this week not to take action against 24 members of Sinn Fein who attended the funeral of Bobby Storey in the midst of strict Covid-19 regulations.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Simon Byrne

The PPS pointed to police engagement with the funeral planners as one reason why any prosecution would be likely to fail.

It prompted DUP leader Arlene Foster to brand Mr Byrne’s position as “untenable”, while the TUV leader Jim Allister described the PPS decision as “perverse”.

Mr Aiken said there was anger felt in recent days over Sinn Fein’s actions at the Bobby Storey funeral.

He described the UUP as a “stalwart supporter” of the PSNI from its very inception but that the senior leadership no longer has the support of “much of our community”.

“As the events of the recent weeks have shown, the PSNI is not a normal policing role,” he said.

“It is not a police force similar to county constabularies in England, it is one of the most challenging policing roles anywhere and in consequence needs an outstanding level of leadership that can have the support of all communities across Northern Ireland.

“It is very clear to us that the senior leadership of the PSNI has failed, and no longer has the support of much of our community.“It is with regret that it has come to this, but it is clear that without the support of much of the community he seeks to serve, it is time for the Chief Constable to resign.

“He no longer has our support.”