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01 July 2020 10:34

Juventus F.C. Bologna F.C. 1909 Serie A

Michelle O'Neill defends her attendance at Bobby Storey's funeral

First Minister Arlene Foster has called for Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill to apologise for attending the funeral of republican Bobby Storey. On Wednesday she defended her actions and said the funeral had taken place "in accordance" with coronavirus guidelines. There has been widespread criticism of Ms O'Neill and her party colleagues, including leader Mary Lou McDonald and former leader Gerry Adams, who attended the funeral. She said the cortege had a "maximum of 30 people in it" and that the service at St Agnes's Church had been "exemplary" in relation to social distancing and hygiene. The Sinn Féin vice-president added: "Regrettably a considerable number of family members were unable to take part in the cortege as a result of current restrictions, like many other families who have been unable to properly grieve or mourn the loss of a loved one in a traditional way as a result of the Covid crisis.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said on Tuesday it would review footage of the funeral and "consider any suspected breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations NI 2020". Sources within the local churches have expressed concern about the deputy first minister's claim that the arrangements for the funeral service for Bobby Storey within St Agnes's Church in West Belfast were "exemplary". It's understood that in a call last Wednesday with the chief medical officer, chief scientific adviser and two junior ministers, church representatives were told that the change in rules enabling social distancing at regular religious services did not apply to funerals, weddings and baptisms. It's understood the churches then advised other families planning funerals for this week that the maximum attendance for funerals of 10 people remained in place. It's believed church leaders were sent new guidance last night, marked "draft" which extends the social distancing rule to funeral services.

Stormont's Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Northern Ireland Assembly members (MLAs) Gerry Kelly and Martina Anderson also attended the funeral. Mr Swann said he hoped "this isn't the Dominic Cummings effect in Northern Ireland because quite frankly our health service can't afford it to be". In the assembly, Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said the executive's credibility had been undermined by the appearance of the deputy first minister and other MLAs "in flagrant breach, it would appear, of some of those regulations". In May, a senior police officer said there had been social-distancing breaches at funerals in both the unionist and nationalist communities. Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has defended her attendance at the funeral of leading republican Bobby Storey in west Belfast on Tuesday.

The Sinn Fein vice-president insisted the cortege had a "maximum of 30 people in it" in keeping with new Covid-19 regulations agreed on Monday. Speaking to The Irish News, Ms O'Neill also insisted that there was social distancing inside St Agnes' Church. "Regrettably a considerable number of family members were unable to take part in the cortege as a result of the current restrictions, like many other families who have been unable to properly grieve or mourn the loss of a loved one in a traditional way as a result of the Covid crisis," she said. Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis surprised at the images from the funeral saying he understood the frustrations of the public at its scale. Photo by Philip Magowan / Press Eye Philip Magowan / PressEye Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th June 2020 The funeral of Bobby Storey has taken place in Belfast.

Whatsapp The funeral of Bobby Storey takes place in Andersonstown, west Belfast on June 30th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph) (left to right) Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill attending the funeral of senior Irish Republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey Ms O'Neill said the funeral had taken place "in accordance" with coronavirus guidelines. She said the cortege had a "maximum of 30 people in it" and that the service at St Agnes's Church had been "exemplary" in relation to social distancing and hygiene. The Sinn Féin vice-president added: "Regrettably a considerable number of family members were unable to take part in the cortege as a result of current restrictions, like many other families who have been unable to properly grieve or mourn the loss of a loved one in a traditional way as a result of the Covid crisis. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said on Tuesday it would review footage of the funeral and "consider any suspected breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations NI 2020". Michelle O'Neill, the Deputy First Minister, has defended her attendance at the funeral of veteran Republican Bobby Storey, in which people lined the streets of West Belfast. It comes as the funeral came under fire, with Health Minister Robin Swann saying it was a clear breach of Stormont restrictions which limit public gatherings to 30 people. has defended her attendance at republican Bobby Storey's funeral. She told @irish_news it had taken place "in accordance" with current covid-19 guidelines, with a "maximum of 30" people in the cortege and 3 people sharing a pew in the church. "Regrettably a considerable number of family members were unable to take part in the cortege as a result of the current restrictions, like many other families who have been unable to properly grieve or mourn the loss of a loved one in a traditional way as a result of the Covid crisis. Photo posted on Lucan Sinn Fein Facebook page of Michelle O'Neill posing for a selfie with two attendees at Bobby Storey's funeral. Secretary of State Brandon Lewis also questioned the attendance of Ms O'Neill and other Sinn Fein executive ministers. Following the funeral, Robin Swann said that Mr Swann said the Police Service of Northern Ireland was investigating the episode. Speaking about the funeral, PSNI Superintendent Melanie Jones said: "We were made aware of the plans for today's funeral and have engaged with the celebrant and service organisers to highlight both the public health advice and risks around Covid-19, and the requirement for those attending to adhere to social distancing. "We will now review footage gathered during the funeral and will consider any suspected breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations NI 2020." The Northern Ireland Secretary has joined those questioning the actions of the Deputy First Minister in attending an IRA veteran's funeral that saw hundreds of people line the streets. Michelle O'Neill has faced calls to resign following Bobby Storey's funeral in west Belfast on Tuesday. Police are investigating potential breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules that restrict outdoor public gatherings to 30 people. On Wednesday, the Deputy First Minister defended the event, saying the cortege only had 30 people in it and social distancing inside the church was "exemplary". Secretary of State Brandon Lewis questioned the attendance of Ms O'Neill and other Sinn Fein executive ministers. Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald with Michelle O'Neill at the funeral (Liam McBurney/PA) "Regrettably a considerable number of family members were unable to take part in the cortege as a result of the current restrictions, like many other families who have been unable to properly grieve or mourn the loss of a loved one in a traditional way as a result of the Covid crisis," she told the Irish News. On Tuesday, Stormont health minister Robin Swann said the funeral must not become Northern Ireland's "Dominic Cummings moment". Mr Swann said the scenes in Andersonstown, where roadsides were packed with people as the cortege carrying Mr Storey passed by, was a clear breach of Stormont restrictions. Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and former leader Gerry Adams were among other high-profile party members at the service and a later commemoration event at Milltown cemetery. Ms O'Neill in particular has faced strong criticism from political rivals in Northern Ireland, given her role as the joint head of a Stormont Executive that has been instructing people to limit the size of funerals during the lockdown. "I sincerely hope that this isn't the Dominic Cummings effect in Northern Ireland because in our health service we can't afford it to be," he said.