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Bobby Storey funeral: PPS confirms review into decision

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The funeral procession of senior Irish Republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey following the funeral at St Agnes’ Church in west Belfast.

The funeral procession of senior Irish Republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey following the funeral at St Agnes’ Church in west Belfast.

(left to right) Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill arrive at St Agnes’ Church in west Belfast for the funeral of senior Irish Republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey. (Liam McBurney/PA)

(left to right) Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill arrive at St Agnes’ Church in west Belfast for the funeral of senior Irish Republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey. (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Roselawn Cemetery and Crematorium in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Roselawn Cemetery and Crematorium in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Liam McBurney/PA)

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The director of public prosecutions Stephen Herron (UTV/PA)

The director of public prosecutions Stephen Herron (UTV/PA)

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The funeral procession of senior Irish Republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey following the funeral at St Agnes’ Church in west Belfast.

A review of the decision taken by the Public Prosecution Service around the Bobby Storey funeral is to be “conducted imminently”, according to the organisation.

A statement released by the PPS said it had received “a number of requests to review the decisions taken” not to prosecute the 24 individuals reported by the PSNI.

The Public Prosecution Service said on Tuesday it will not prosecute those reported for attendance at the funeral of former IRA prisoner Bobby Storey last June.

The decision prompted a significant reaction from the parties in Stormont, including the DUP who called for the PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne to resign.

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The PPS announced on Wednesday that a review into the process will be carried out by a senior PPS lawyer who was “not involved in taking the original decisions”.

In a statement it added: “As the Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Herron indicated yesterday, it is recognised that significant sacrifices and compromises have been made by many families in abiding by both the spirit and letter of the Coronavirus Regulations.

“It is worth emphasising again that the lack of clarity and consistency within the Regulations (as outlined in the PPS decision rationale) referred to the specific point in time of this particular funeral, and should not undermine the value the Regulations have had overall in protecting public health or their enforceability at other times and in other circumstances.

“We recognise that the prosecutorial decisions are one component part of more holistic concerns expressed recently, as is evident from media reporting and commentary.

“For the sake of clarity, further enquiry around why the Regulations were amended in short succession before and after the funeral or the conduct of police in engaging with funeral organisers will largely be beyond the scope of any prosecutorial review, save for any bearing they have on whether or not the Test for Prosecution is considered to be met.”

Welcoming the review by the PPS into the decision, the DUP East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons said: "The original decision not to prosecute did not make sense to anyone. The Covid regulations were clear and obvious to virtually every single person in Northern Ireland and there were no issues raised at the time of Bobby Storey's funeral about either clarity or consistency.

"I welcome this swift move from the PPS and hope this review can move more quickly than it has taken every other step of this process to conclude."

Belfast Telegraph


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