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Sinn Féin hierarchy's decision to attend funeral was a bad error of judgement which may yet have consequences

Hugh O'Connell


Images from Belfast service will have angered families unable to say goodbye to loved ones since March, writes Hugh O'Connell

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the funeral of senior Irish Republican Bobby Storey in west Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the funeral of senior Irish Republican Bobby Storey in west Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

PA

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the funeral of senior Irish Republican Bobby Storey in west Belfast. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

THE decision by Mary Lou McDonald and senior Sinn Féin figures to attend the funeral of former IRA man Bobby Storey earlier this week has sparked a political crisis at Stormont and no shortage of anger across the island.

This story has resonance with the wider public because so many people have been forced to endure the pain of being unable to attend loved ones’ funerals in recent months as a result of the severe, unprecedented but necessary public health restrictions.

McDonald and others in Sinn Féin argue that because restrictions are being relaxed and certain protocols were followed, there was no issue with the scenes in West Belfast on Tuesday where hundreds and perhaps thousands lined the streets to pay their respects to Mr Storey.