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UK News Assembly urges Michelle O'Neill to apologise over Bobby Storey funeral

01:31  08 july  2020
01:31  08 july  2020 Source:   belfastlive.co.uk

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Politicians back apology motion over IRA funeral . Council's 'error of judgement' over Storey funeral . Earlier this week, the council apologised after admitting that on the day Mr Storey 's family was allowed to wait beside the Bobby Storey funeral : O ' Neill 'sorry' for grieving families' hurt.

The motion calls on Deputy First Minister Michelle O ' Neill and Finance Minister Conor Murphy to apologise . She said Ms O ' Neill owes the NI Assembly an explanation for "the damage done" by attending the Michelle O ' Neill was repeating ad nauseam, in a press facility at the end of last week

Michelle O'Neill et al. looking at a cell phone: Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the funeral of senior Bobby Storey at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast. © Liam McBurney/PA Wire Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the funeral of senior Bobby Storey at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast.

The Stormont Assembly has passed a motion urging deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill to apologise for attending Bobby Storey's funeral during the pandemic.

Hundreds lined the route of the veteran republican and former IRA member's cortege in West Belfast last week.

The Assembly's declaration passed without a vote on Tuesday evening.

DUP Assembly member Christopher Stalford said: "I regret to say that the Deputy First Minister's credibility is shot to bits."

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The North’s Assembly will debate a motion on Tuesday calling on the Deputy First Minister to apologise for her actions at the funeral of former IRA member Bobby Storey . The other parties in the Northern Executive have accused Michelle O ’ Neill of breaching the coronavirus regulations and

Bobby Storey funeral : Council apology over Bobby Storey funeral . Belfast City Council has apologised after details emerged about how it dealt Assembly members will debate whether to urge Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O ' Neill and finance minister Conor Murphy to apologise later.

The resolution was backed by the DUP, UUP, SDLP and Alliance but does not have any practical legal effect.

DUP First Minister Arlene Foster has asked her powersharing partner to step aside while PSNI officers consider the matter.

Ms O'Neill has apologised "for grieving families experiencing more hurt".

No new deaths have been recorded with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said on Tuesday, leaving the total number of people who have died at 554.

Another five positive cases have been notified since Monday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 5,761.

A group of around 30 walked in Mr Storey's cortege from St Agnes' Church to Milltown Cemetery.

Police are investigating whether any social distancing breaches occurred.

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The funeral cortege of Bobby Storey in west Belfast last week. Mrs O ' Neill came under significant pressure over her funeral attendance from MLAs in all parties at The resolution also calls on Mrs O ' Neill and Finance Minister Conor Murphy, who both attended the funeral , " to apologise for their

The funeral cortege of Bobby Storey in west Belfast last week. Mrs O ' Neill came under significant pressure over her funeral attendance from MLAs in all parties at The resolution also calls on Mrs O ' Neill and Finance Minister Conor Murphy, who both attended the funeral , " to apologise for their

Ms O'Neill has said she did everything she could to minimise numbers including encouraging thousands to watch it online while marshals kept the crowds away from the cortege during the journey through west Belfast.

On Tuesday she said: "It was not and would never be my intention to hurt anybody within society."

She added: "I am satisfied that I did act responsibly within the church, as part of the cortege and at Milltown Cemetery.

"I take very seriously indeed my responsibility as a public office holder.

"I have acted in accordance with those responsibilities."

Mr Storey was cremated at Roselawn cemetery in the east of the city where 30 people were allowed to attend an outdoor committal service.

The other eight cremations that took place on the same day were not allowed services at the site.

Belfast City Council has apologised to those families.

Mr Stalford said social distancing breaches included:

Funerals can be uncontrollable, says police chief

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Bobby Storey funeral : Council apology over Bobby Storey funeral . Belfast City Council has apologised after details emerged about how it dealt with Bobby Jim Allister has posed a number of questions to the PSNI chief constable over the Bobby Storey funeral last week, and suggested an

Michelle O ’ Neill should explain to Stormont’s Assembly her attendance at Bobby Storey ’s funeral , Naomi Long has said. The Justice Minister urged her Executive colleague to outline why she remains convinced her conduct was in line with official health guidance. The veteran republican’s funeral last

- Hundreds of people following behind the cortege;

- Widespread advertising of the event online;

- Installation of a public address system at Milltown Cemetery;

- A "mass rally" at the cemetery;

- The Sinn Fein vice-president posing for a selfie.

Mr Stalford, who represents South Belfast, said: "These rules don't apply to a senior member of Sinn Fein who is being buried.

"That is what really sticks in people's craw.

"That is what is at the core of this issue.

"Do as I say, not as I do."

The Assembly motion also singled out finance minister Conor Murphy's presence at the funeral.

It "pays tribute to those who selflessly prioritised the need to keep each other safe above their own personal needs, particularly during times of trauma, loss and grief; expresses disappointment in the actions of those in ministerial office who breached public guidance and failed to share in the sacrifice that we have asked of others; implores members of the public to stay with us and to continue acting in accordance with the regulations in order to keep each other safe and prevent further deaths; recommits to upholding the spirit and the letter of the Covid-19 regulations and the related public health guidance; and calls on the Deputy First Minister and the minister of finance to apologise for their actions, which have caused immense hurt".

Mrs Foster said the episode had damaged her partner in government's credibility in delivering coronavirus safety messages and has halted joint press conferences.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening in a statement issued by the DUP Group, Belfast City Council, they say they have called for a special meeting this Friday.

The statement read: "We share the public anger at the disparity in the arrangements permitted for grieving families at Roselawn Cemetery and Crematorium on Tuesday 30th June.

"We have called for a special meeting of the City Council, this Friday to discuss an urgent interim report which we have requested on these events.

"There must also be an independent investigation into these events. We will be formally proposing this at the Council meeting. Roselawn Cemetery should return to normal opening hours with immediate effect.

"The lack of transparency around these events has undermined public confidence in the workings of the Council which we cannot tolerate."

July 11 bonfires set to be lit at midnight .
A smaller than usual number of pyres have been built following calls to abandon the tradition this year in case they draw large crowds.Politicians and community leaders have urged caution to avoid large crowds gathering against coronvirus regulations, which state no more than 30 should gather together outside.

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