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Editor's Viewpoint

Michelle O'Neill's arrogant attitude and 'non-apology' is not acceptable and is yet another gaffe from Sinn Fein

Editor's Viewpoint


Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire


Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has acknowledged the "considerable controversy "caused by her attendance at the funeral of Bobby Storey, and said it was "unfortunate" that the matter had divided the Executive. 

She also said: "I will never apologise for attending the funeral of a friend." Her 'non-apology' apology shows the extent to which Sinn Fein just does not understand the public mood.

Though four out of five of the main parties agree that she has not yet gone far enough, this is not just political point-scoring. The overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland share that view, and many also in the Irish Republic.

Michelle O'Neill was wrong to attend the funeral and she owes us all a fulsome apology for doing so.

People in other families have spent the last three months apologising to relatives for not being able to attend loves ones' funerals. So when did Sinn Fein suddenly develop this tin ear for the public mood?

They used to be much slicker in their reaction to strong criticism. However, under Michelle O'Neill there have been several political gaffes. These include the U-turn within 24 hours over the proposed closure of schools, the differences of opinion in following the advice of the World Health Organisation and not that from London, and the Finance Minister Conor Murphy mis-remembering whether he had ordered PPE equipment or not.

Suddenly Sinn Fein seems less sure-footed than it used to be. All of this prompts the inevitable question - would the same thing have happened under the late Martin McGuinness' watch? Most people would say "No".

Michelle O'Neill's carefully phrased 'non-apology' simply will not do. She needs to go further, and she must give us all a proper apology.

People are outraged by the implication that there is one rule for Sinn Fein and another for the rest of us.

Belfast Telegraph