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Bobby Storey funeral: Sinn Fein members invited for police interview


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Police are investigating potential coronavirus breached at Bobby Storey’s funeral. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Police are investigating potential coronavirus breached at Bobby Storey’s funeral. (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Police are investigating potential coronavirus breached at Bobby Storey’s funeral. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein has confirmed members of the party have been invited to attend a police interview voluntarily for their attendance at the funeral of Bobby Storey.

Police launched an investigation into the events surrounding the veteran IRA man's funeral in June. Cumbria Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Mark Webster was appointed to oversee the investigation to determine if coronavirus laws were broken.

Sinn Fein confirmed a number of the party’s elected representatives “have received letters from the police this morning asking them to present for voluntary interview”.

"They will contact the police and co-operate with the investigation,” the spokesperson added.

Hundreds lined the streets of west Belfast as Mr Storey’s funeral cortege made its way to the republican plot at Milltown Cemetery before a private cremation at Roselawn in the east of the city.

The appearance of senior Sinn Fein figures, including deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, attending the service in west Belfast sparked outrage and further upset was caused over the number allowed to attend the crematorium. Eight other families were denied access due to pandemic measures.

Ms O'Neill has maintained her attendance did not breach any regulations but admitted she "undermined" the public health message.

Mark Webster, Deputy Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary said an initial number of letters were issued on Friday inviting a number of people to participate in a voluntary interview with investigating officers at a local police station.

"Upon receipt of a letter individuals will have 14 days to respond should they wish to take part in an interview," he said.

"As this matter remains a live investigation there will be no further commentary at this time."

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill during the funeral of Bobby Storey (Liam McBurney/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill during the funeral of Bobby Storey (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill during the funeral of Bobby Storey (Liam McBurney/PA)

Meanwhile, TUV leader Jim Allister has said questions need to be answered over the use of ministerial cars.

After tabling a number of questions at Stormont, Mr Allister said it is yet to be established whether deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and Junior Minister Declan Kearney travelled to the funeral in their ministerial cars and if the Executive office would be investigating.

Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and Finance Minister Conor Murphy used their official vehicles to attend.

Mr Allister said: ”I also asked for the first and deputy first ministers for their assessment of whether the deputy First Minister, in attending the funeral of Bobby Storey on 30 June 2020, was supporting the rule of law unequivocally in word and deed, as required by her pledge of office. Again, this question remains unanswered.

”Stormont might wish that this matter would just go away but I will continue to press for accountability and have today tabled a number of questions to the Executive Office asking that my questions, which should have been answered months ago, are responded to.”

Belfast City Council apologised to the families denied access to Roselawn Cemetery on the day of Mr Storey's funeral and later ordered an independent investigation into the handling of the funeral which is being led by lawyer Peter Coll QC.

It will report in six weeks’ time.

Belfast Telegraph