Orange Institution disappointed by HMICFRS report into PSNI handling of Storey funeral
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has expressed its disappointment following the recent publication of the findings of the HMICFRS report into the PSNI operation surrounding the funeral of IRA member Bobby Storey.
The funeral, which was effectively an orchestrated Republican show of strength, took place at a time when maintaining public confidence in the Covid-19 restrictions was of paramount importance.
A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said: “The failure to bring any charges in relation to this blatant breach of Covid regulations and the latest subsequent report, will do little to dispel the growing perception that the threat of public disorder pays.
“The disclosure that senior Republicans were central to the planning of the associated policing operation raises a number of questions – none of which were satisfactorily addressed in the HMICFRS report.
“Any defence which relies on the claim that the regulations were confusing is untenable. Hundreds of bereaved families were forced to abide by the rules as they mourned their loved ones in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations. The Orange Institution took the necessary decision to cancel a great many public events to safeguard the health of all – the Republican movement however showed no such consideration.
“The PPS decision and the HMICFRS report effectively signal that Republicans are above the law. Furthermore, the ongoing PSNI pursuit of young loyalist bandsmen clearly illustrates that ‘two-tier policing’ is no longer a perception - but a reality.”
The spokesman added: “Despite this, the Grand Orange Lodge are ready and willing to engage with the PSNI in order to address the current issues and to help ensure a balanced and equitable policing response which commands the confidence of the entire community.”