Orange Order: Republicans taught threat of violence pays
The Orange Order has voiced disappointment over the latest probe into the Bobby Storey funeral – adding that it aims to work with the PSNI to ensure “balanced and equitable policing”.
It said in a statement that the failure to bring charges over the huge public ceremony will only re-inforce the beliefs of many that the threat of violence pays.
The statement describes the funeral of dead IRA enforcer Mr Storey – who spent much of his life behind bars for terrorist activity – as “effectively an orchestrated republican show of strength” which had come “at a time when maintaining public confidence in the Covid-19 restrictions was of paramount importance”.
The Orange Order statement (issued in the name of the institution rather than an individual) said: “The failure to bring any charges in relation to this blatant breach of Covid regulations and the latest subsequent report, will do little to dispel the growing perception that the threat of public disorder pays.
“The disclosure that senior Republicans were central to the planning of the associated policing operation raises a number of questions – none of which were satisfactorily addressed in the [HM Inspectorate of Constabulary] report.
“Any defence which relies on the claim that the regulations were confusing is untenable.
“Hundreds of bereaved families were forced to abide by the rules as they mourned their loved ones in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations.
“The Orange Institution took the necessary decision to cancel a great many public events to safeguard the health of all – the republican movement however showed no such consideration.”
It added that “the ongoing PSNI pursuit of young loyalist bandsmen clearly illustrates that ‘two-tier policing’ is no longer a perception but a reality”, before concluding: “Despite this, the Grand Orange Lodge are ready and willing to engage with the PSNI in order to address the current issues and to help ensure a balanced and equitable policing response which commands the confidence of the entire community.”
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