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DUP urge PSNI to act following lack of social distancing at Sinn Fein man's funeral

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The republican funeral of former Sinn Fein councillor Francie McNally takes place in Ballinderry

The republican funeral of former Sinn Fein councillor Francie McNally takes place in Ballinderry

The republican funeral of former Sinn Fein councillor Francie McNally takes place in Ballinderry

DUP MLA Tom Buchanan has said police must act after more than 200 people turned out to attend the funeral of a former Sinn Fein councillor in Co Tyrone last week.

He was speaking after the DUP’s representatives on the Policing Board met with Chief Constable Simon Byrne to discuss a range of issues relating to the PSNI’s response over Covid-19 on Friday.

Police are preparing a file for prosecutors after over 200 people attended the funeral of Francie McNally in Ballinderry on Wednesday, April 8.

Those paying their respects as the funeral procession made its way to St Patrick's Church were accused of putting lives at risk by failing to observe strict social distancing guidelines.

Two of Mr McNally's brothers were killed during the Troubles.

West Tyrone MLA Mr Buchanan said the PSNI must act over the funeral and other “reckless and irresponsible” breaches of social distancing.

“We recognise that enforcement powers should be used in a fair and proportionate manner, however at this time of uncertainty the public expectation is that those who risk their own health and that of others will face the full rigour of the law,” he stated after the meeting with Mr Byrne.

“I also stressed the need for more effective communication between PSNI team and local communities.

“We need to prevent future confusion particularly around the opening of caravan parks in order to ensure public support for the current restrictions is maintained.’’

The DUP representatives also discussed the role of part-time reserves, as well as the need to address concerns about levels of domestic violence.

East Belfast MLA Joanne Bunting raised the issue of custody in Musgrave Police Station and sought reassurance that all appropriate steps were being taken to ensure the safety officers and those in custody.

“It is important that justice continues to be served,” she added. “Provision for live-link court appearances will ensure the criminal justice system can continue to operate.’’

Meanwhile, South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke said the rise in domestic abuse incidents reported since social distancing regulations came into effect is “a startling statistic”.

“Behind each of these incidents is a victim whose wellbeing we have a duty to promote and protect and even more so in the current environment in which people may find it harder to leave their homes or reach out for help,” stated Mr Clarke.

Belfast Telegraph