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Assembly to debate urging Michelle O’Neill to apologise

The Sinn Fein vice-president and senior colleagues attended the funeral a week ago of veteran republican Bobby Storey.

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Assembly members will debate whether to urge Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill and finance minister Conor Murphy to apologise later (Liam McBurney/PA)

Assembly members will debate whether to urge Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill and finance minister Conor Murphy to apologise later (Liam McBurney/PA)

Assembly members will debate whether to urge Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill and finance minister Conor Murphy to apologise later (Liam McBurney/PA)

Assembly members will debate whether to urge Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill and finance minister Conor Murphy to apologise later.

The Sinn Fein vice-president and senior colleagues attended the funeral a week ago of veteran republican Bobby Storey.

Hundreds lined the route of the cortege in West Belfast.

Police are investigating whether any social-distancing breaches occurred.

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Hundreds lined the route of the cortege in West Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Hundreds lined the route of the cortege in West Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Hundreds lined the route of the cortege in West Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP first minister Arlene Foster has asked her powersharing partner in government to step aside while officers consider the matter.

Ms O’Neill has apologised “for grieving families experiencing more hurt”.

An Assembly motion has been signed by the DUP, UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party and is due to be debated on Tuesday evening.

It acknowledges the sacrifices made during the coronavirus emergency.

The motion “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”.

TUV leader Jim Allister submitted a no confidence motion in the deputy first minister, urging her to resign.

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

PA