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Responding to the revelation that Sinn Fein emailed thousands of party members and supporters with full details of Bobby Storey's funeral arrangements and told them that the wake would be open to the public, South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford said,

"This confirms what everyone already knew. People did not come onto the streets of Belfast during the height of the first Covid wave of their own volition. People were actively encouraged to breach health regulations by Sinn Fein.

Not only were they prepared to flout regulations and damage the public health message, but to put their own members and supporters at risk.

In response to a question from me at the Executive Office Committee on 1st July the Deputy First Minister said,

"Republicans would have come in even larger numbers from across the island and further afield to be at the funeral yesterday had they been able to. We actively discouraged people."

This raises a very serious question as to whether the Deputy First Minister deliberately misled a Committee of the Assembly. We now have clear evidence that rather that discourage people, Sinn Fein was advertising Mr Storey's wake as a public event.

With several months having passed since the police first sought an interview with Mrs O'Neill is it now imperative this happen quickly and the investigation must include her knowledge of this email and that of other senior Sinn Fein representatives.

People must see a demonstration that the law applies equally to everyone in our society, regardless of their status or political affiliation."