It’s bizarre that the head of the Republic’s Supreme Court has lost it so publicly over a golf dinner, while at the same time, as Nolan said on his programme this morning, Sinn Féin asked nationalist families to let their loved ones die alone yet then went ahead to bring thousands to Bobby Storey’s wake and funeral.
Here’s Hugh O’Connell report in the Sunday Independent:
The funeral of the former senior IRA figure on June 30 last now is the subject of a Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation into alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations that were in place in the North at the time.
The funeral was attended by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, her predecessor Gerry Adams, her deputy Michelle O’Neill, finance spokesman Pearse Doherty and several other senior Sinn Féin figures.
An email seen by the Sunday Independent that was sent to thousands of party members and supporters on the evening of June 25 makes no reference to the Covid-19 pandemic, the public health restrictions that limited outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 30 people at the time or any requirement to wear masks or keep socially distanced. [emphasis added]
It brings to mind Trump’s boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”. What he didn’t claim, as some then subsequently claimed, is that he also wouldn’t be prosecuted by the courts for it. As he’s finding out just now over the election result, the law has careful limits.
Judging by the storm of protest from callers this morning at the very mention of the story (again), the party seems to have moved into the Trumpian business of shouting it down. But the real scandal here is that the party has only recent days bothered to respond to a request for police interviews:
The Stephen Nolan show reported on Friday that the PSNI wrote to Ms O’Neill and 23 other people on September 18 but it was two months before police received written confirmation from the legal representatives of those they wish to speak to that “confirmed their intention to participate”.
Whatever else this is, if we reference it as Trumpism it would only be to describe the scale and degree rather than the nature of the infraction, which as many victims of the Troubles and after know to their cost, has been practised in Northern Ireland long before the millionaire businessman became POTUS.
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