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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: PSNI chief constable requests external police officer to investigate Storey funeral

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The funeral of Bobby Storey in west Belfast

The funeral of Bobby Storey in west Belfast

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Bobby Storey in west Belfast

PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne has announced he has requested the appointment of an external senior police officer to oversee the investigation of potential coronavirus regulations breaches at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.

In a statement, Mr Byrne said he has spoken to chair of the National Police Chief's Council Martin Hewitt to request the appointment.

He said this will ensure independent oversight of the investigation.

The chief constable also said the PSNI has received a complaint from a member of the public regarding police actions leading up to the funeral on June 20. This has now been forwarded to the Police Ombudsman for her consideration.

The attendance of senior Sinn Fein figures at the funeral, including deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, has caused a political row.

Opposition parties have said Mrs O'Neill's attendance has undermined the Executive's health messaging regarding the coronavirus pandemic. A motion passed in the Assembly calling on the Sinn Fein MLA to apologise for her actions.

The news comes after the Northern Ireland Executive confirmed a further raft of relaxations to the coronavirus lockdown.

As of July 10 indoor fitness studios and gyms, bingo halls and amusement arcades, outdoors leisure playgrounds, courts and gyms, and cinemas will be allowed to reopen.

The Executive also agreed that outdoor horse racing and equestrian competitions can resume from July 11 with only those needed for the event being able to attend.

Outdoor competitive games and sporting events can also start again from July 11.

This will cover both grass roots and professional competitive games and events. No spectators will be allowed.

The relaxations will require that governing body protocols are in place and that hygiene and social distancing directives are enacted to ensure a safe return to sport.

The Executive confirmed that places of worship will be able to resume indoor weddings and baptisms from Friday.

Local government offices and other venues can resume marriage and civil partnership services from the same date.

It will be up to venues to determine their precise opening dates for ceremonies and venues will determine if they wish to provide post-ceremony celebrations.

Numbers attending indoor marriage and civil partnership ceremonies and post-ceremony celebrations will be determined by the venue on a risk assessed basis, taking account of the individual circumstances of each and adhering to all relevant public health advice and industry guidance.

Face coverings on public transport will be mandatory from Friday July 10, except where an exemption applies.

The current advice is that the use of face coverings is strongly recommended in indoor spaces.

The Executive also agreed that libraries can re-open from July 16 with protocols put in place to ensure social distancing.

And the date allowing for the re-opening of indoor sport and leisure facilities, including skating rinks and leisure centres has been brought forward to July 17. This does not include swimming pools at this stage.

Follow our live blog below for all of today's latest developments:

Belfast Telegraph