Even after a much quieter than normal Twelfth, the Bobby Storey funeral continues to make headlines. The official report, prepared by the council’s solicitor, has been leaked to various media outlets. It has also brought out the trolls.
Tom Kelly’s piece in the Irish News yesterday, is worth quoting…
His funeral will be one of the most expensive in the history of Northern Ireland as Belfast City Council, the Assembly, the PSNI, the Police Ombudsman, the Equality Commission and an external officer from another police force are all carrying out investigations into the proceedings of that day.
And it is all a bit of a nonsense. Surely it is possible for one person/organisation to oversee an investigation into all aspects and parties to recent events which occurred over a period of a few days?
That said, we know what happened at the Storey funeral. We watched it in full technicolour. The Sinn Féin leadership breached the Covid-19 health guidelines in both spirit and practice. The deputy first minister has zero credibility in trying to spin an alternative narrative.
There is not enough sanitiser in the whole of Ireland to decontaminate the fallout of this spectacular own goal by the Sinn Féin leadership. They, and they alone, have given fringe loyalists like Jamie Bryson the best Twelfth ever.
Not having seen the whole report, I cannot comment in any detail. All that is needed is to explain what happened, in what sequence, and with what logic. It’s not rocket science and it really shouldn’t be that difficult to explain in simple terms.
All these proposed investigations will make certain disruptors twitch in their hoodies but ultimately there will be no meaningful outcome at the end of the process.
It will be the usual guff – lessons will be learned and additional measures shall be put in place to ensure no recurrence. That is until the next time.
It would beyond outrageous if any of the investigations solely laid blame at the door of public officials. Public and civil servants are shackled to the vagaries of their political overseers. Politicians must learn it is they who are both responsible and accountable for their actions. [Emphasis added]
Aas I said on Nolan at the end of last week, all council officials have a duty to pay particular attention to the views and opinions of councillors when they are setting policy and law. In all other matters, councillors must step back into their roles as citizens.
Councillors cannot behave in such a way as to prevent council officials from carrying out their duties evenhandedly towards all citizens without fair and impartial with regard to their duty to that wider public. It is councillors who are accountable here.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty