DUP Leader Arlene Foster calls for Chief Constable Simon Byrne’s resignation
First Minister and DUP Leader Arlene Foster has called on the Chief Constable Simon Byrne to resign after the PPS revealed that there would be no prosecutions following ‘covid breaches’ at the funeral of Bobby Storey.
The First Minister called the Chief Constable’s position ‘untenable’.
In a statement Foster said:
“The organisation, attendance, policing and investigation of the Storey funeral raise fundamental questions which require deeper examination if public confidence in the institutions of justice is to be maintained. “Everyone must be equal under the law and equally subject to the law. “Over the last twelve months many have sacrificed the basic right of attending our loved one’s wake or funeral. It was the law but also because it was the responsible step to take at a time when we were trying to contain the spread of Covid-19. “Sinn Fein have acted as though they were above the law. To claim ignorance of the law is no defence when you helped legislate those very same regulations. Hundreds lined the streets dressed in white shirts and black ties and attended a political rally in Milltown Cemetery when the limit on public gatherings was 30. There was a complete lapse of leadership and a public display of arrogance by Sinn Fein’s elected representatives. Public health rules were undermined and irreparably damaged. “The engagement between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the funeral organisers is a factor in no prosecution being made. This is inexplicable. That the police assisted in breaking the law is fundamental and requires further examination. If any senior officer is identified as having approved of or contributed to that decision-making process, then all those senior officers’ positions are untenable. “The position of the Chief Constable is now untenable and I am calling on him to resign. Sadly, it is now clear confidence cannot be rebuilt with him in post. “I have already spoken with the Secretary of State and with serious questions remaining for Belfast City Council, the PSNI and the Sinn Fein leadership, I intend to meet with him. For our part we will be examining all routes for a further independent examination of all the events of 30 June. “When what was seen by everyone is not seen by the justice system the situation has become absurd. The role of the PSNI on the day has been a determining factor. This creates a crisis of confidence that goes to the highest levels of the police. “The public interest has not been served throughout and compliance to our health regulations fundamentally undermined by SF’s and the PSNI’s behaviour from that day to this.”