Doherty: Storey funeral carried out in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions

Doherty: Storey funeral carried out in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions
Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (left) speaks alongside Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty during the funeral of Bobby Storey. Picture: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has defended his attendance at the funeral of Bobby Storey and was adamant that the funeral had been carried out in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Doherty was among the 30 people in attendance at the chapel in which the requiem mass was held. 

He told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney show that face coverings and hand sanitizer were used.

As a friend of Mr Storey he had been invited by the family to attend the funeral mass, he said. 

Sinn Féin had asked people to stay away and had broadcast the funeral on social media.

Stewards lined the two mile route, socially distanced, he said, but members of the public had gathered on the footpath behind them.

If the funeral had been held on Sunday he would not have attended because of the travel restrictions, he added.

Meanwhile, Stormont’s First Minister has called on the Deputy First Minister to apologise over an IRA veteran’s funeral that saw hundreds of people line the streets.

Arlene Foster’s comments come as Michelle O’Neill faces calls to resign after she and party colleagues attended Bobby Storey’s funeral in west Belfast on Tuesday.

Police are investigating potential breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules that restrict outdoor public gatherings to 30 people.

A picture posted on social media by a Sinn Féin branch in the Irish Republic showed Ms O’Neill posing for a selfie close to two men, one of whom had his arm on her shoulder. The picture was subsequently deleted.

Mrs Foster said the scenes at the funeral and apparent lack of social distancing had “undermined the credibility” of Stormont’s Covid-19 guidance.

- with reporting from Press Association

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