Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

A West Belfast Republican Funeral Breaches CoronaVirus Restrictions – Trouble Ahead

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The Sinn Féin organisers of Bobby Storey’s West Belfast funeral on June 30 2020 got plenty of advance warning – which they chose to ignore.

Suzanne Breen set the scene in the pages of the Belfast Telegraph :

Sinn Fein has adopted an uncompromising approach to fighting coronavirus in Northern Ireland. On school closures, workplace regulations and much more, the party has rightly insisted that health and safety trumps all else.

The funeral of Bobby Storey should be no different. No ifs, buts or maybes. It doesn’t matter that he was Sinn Fein’s northern chairman, spent 20 years in jail, or has heroic status for some in the republican community.

The same guidelines that apply when ordinary folk die apply to Bobby Storey, too. Just imagine the outrage there would be in the nationalist community if loyalists flouted the rules for a UDA or UVF funeral?

Dominic Cummings moments in the six county statelet :

Sinn Féin  President and  Vice-President  Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill
Bobby Storey’s Funeral in Belfast

PBP Belfast Councillor Matt Collins observes

At the risk of sounding repetitive I will make the point again….

The only people in Belfast who have been systematically targeted with fines, cautions and prosecution threats from the PSNI for breaching the regulations during this crisis have been BAME protestors taking part in safe, socially distant Black Lives Matter protests.

Such a fact— in a majority white city with tonnes of examples of proportionally different police treatment to other gatherings — is discrimination by definition.

People should be shouting loudly about this. Those in power keeping quiet about it are increasingly becoming part of the problem in my opinion.

The double standards were also highlighted by Vincent Doherty.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why people would wish to demonstrate their grief and solidarity with Bobby Story, his family and his comrades. I’m hugely relieved that the PSNI Robocops who were on display at the Black Lives Matter demo in Derry a few weeks were kept well away from the Falls Road today. This was due to a deal worked out in advance between Sinn Fein and the PSNI. However, the social distancing and other measures employed during the BLM demo in Derry which was so heavily policed, where not observed today when thousands gathered, nor did they provoke the same response from the PSNI. We can only presume that the Sinn Feiners who opposed the Derry BLM on the grounds of social distancing, stayed at home today and urged others to stay at home? Otherwise we have every right to ask, why are some people, last week it was fascists, this week Sinn Fein, allowed to protest without guidelines whilst the BLM protest, despite a full range of public safety measures saw heavy handed policing and people threatened with arrest and heavy fines. It seems to me, it’s ok for those parties in the Stormont Executive to do as they please. A few years ago Sinn Fein would have been all over this “political policing” but the the poacher has turned gamekeeper. One law for them, one for the rest of us.

And there are more problems on the horizon. Another correspondent explains

The Orange Order has cancelled 12th July marches but as soon as restrictions eased to 30 people, individual orange bands filed for permission to march on new routes to ‘bring the 12th to the people’. The Parade Commission refused permission for the first of these and has been informed by the attorney general that they have no power to prohibit marches,( !) and the commision has indicated there have been new applications daily. with a myriad of marching envisaged .. . all of this predates Bobby Storey’s funeral

A very dismal scenario confronts us.

It is the politics of Keeping up Appearances

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