Blair’s thoughts remain with those who stuck to rules around funerals

COVID-19 John Blair Police

Alliance Policing Board member John Blair MLA has said his thoughts remain with people unable to properly mourn the death of loved ones during the pandemic, after the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) upheld its decision not to prosecute anyone in relation to the Bobby Storey funeral.

The PPS originally made the decision to not prosecute any of the 24 individuals who had been reported in connection with their attendance at the funeral, almost one year ago, in March. Allegations related to alleged breaches of the health protection regulations.

“My thoughts and sympathies remain with anyone who lost a loved one during this pandemic and who was unable to mourn them how they would have wished due to the strict restrictions in place at the time. Their pain has not disappeared and in many cases, has likely been brought up again thanks to this announcement,” said Mr Blair.

“In addition, I am fully aware Mr Storey’s mourning family are at the centre of this and my sympathies go to them as well. While what took place has not resulted in prosecutions, it is welcome the PPS acknowledged it was difficult to reconcile the crowd scenes at the funeral with the decision to not bring any prosecutions.

“Despite that being the case, the credibility of senior Sinn Féin leadership remains in tatters due to their actions at a time when they were instructing others to follow the public health guidance. However, I would again urge people to not allow that to influence their decisions and instead continue to follow that guidance so we can attempt to get through the pandemic as soon as we can.”