DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA said,
“Sinn Fein has been forced to make this statement by the reaction of people from all faiths and none. This has never been an Orange and Green issue as some would try to paint it.
It is right to apologise for the hurt inflicted on many, many people but sadly there is no acknowledgement from the Deputy First Minister that this hurt has been caused by her actions. She let people down by her actions and those of her Ministerial team.
In our view the Deputy First Minister has not grasped the depth of feeling and widespread anger that exists across all communities in Northern Ireland.
There has been no recognition that regulations and guidelines were broken and the Deputy First Minister cannot escape that reality.
There is no escaping the fact that trust and the creditability of the Executive messaging has been totally undermined by the Deputy First Minister and that has not been rectified by today’s comments.
We cannot ignore the reality that if we are to move forward successfully then there cannot be a two-tier system. All must be equal under the law and equally subject to the law.
There are a number of complaints that we, and others, have lodged. Investigations are now underway and need to examine these matters.
I would again appeal to everyone across Northern Ireland to remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Whilst recognising the personal pain and anguish experienced by many during COVID-19, we don’t want to slip back and we do need to take sensible precautions to keep moving Northern Ireland in the right direction.
More than ever Northern Ireland needs us to remain focused and we are determined to remain focused and provide Northern Ireland with a road map to guide us through both the health and economic challenges that still lie ahead of us all.”