Bobby Storey funeral: PSNI to interview senior Sinn Féin figures

Michelle O’Neill and Conor Murphy sought as part of inquiry into possible Covid breaches

A crowd listens to former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams speak during the funeral. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

A crowd listens to former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams speak during the funeral. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

Police have sought interviews with leading Sinn Féin figures, including Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill and Minister for Finance Conor Murphy, who attended the June 30th funeral of veteran republican Bobby Storey in Belfast.

Police Service of Northern Ireland detectives are investigating potential breaches of Northern Ireland’s coronavirus regulations, which laid down at the time that only 30 people could attend funerals.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Webster of Cumbria Constabulary has been appointed to oversee and direct the PSNI inquiry. Sinn Féin has already said it will co-operate.

“Today an initial number of letters were issued to individuals who were identified as having been present on June 30th in potential breach of the health protection regulations,” he said.

Individuals have 14 days to respond. Ms O’Neill and Mr Murphy have denied breaching social distancing measures while at the funeral, which brought large crowds on to the streets of west Belfast.

The row over the funeral led to a major clash between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party and the suspension of joint briefings between Ms O’Neill and First Minister Arlene Foster.

Calling for progress in the inquiry, DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said 81 days had passed since the funeral. Everyone was equal under the law and equally subject to it, he added.