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Sinn Féin is facing accusations of imperilling Northern Ireland’s fight against Covid-19 after its leaders allegedly breached guidelines and regulations by leading hundreds of mourners at the funeral of an IRA commander.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it would review footage of the funeral in Belfast on Tuesday that drew more than a thousand people in apparent violation of rules limiting outdoor gatherings to 30 people.
Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin’s respective current and former leaders, and Michelle O’Neill, a deputy leader who is also Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, attended the send-off for Bobby Storey, a veteran republican and IRA figure.
Politicians from other parties who share executive power with Sinn Féin at Stormont accused it of undermining efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The health minister, Robin Swann, said:
It was a reference to the Downing Street adviser taking long drives during England’s lockdown.
Naomi Long, the justice minister and Alliance party leader, said in a tweet that when the rule makers broke the rules it was more hurtful “for all who made huge sacrifices to obey the regulations”.
O’Neill, who is expected to face tough questions at Stormont on Wednesday, defended her attendance at the funeral and said it respected regulations and guidelines.
The cortège had a “maximum of 30 people” and the service inside St Agnes’ church was “exemplary” in terms of social distancing and hygiene, with only three people per pew, she told the Irish News. “It was ...
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