Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty has issued an apology to Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty after alleging that he encouraged others to break Covid restrictions on Twitter.
s Doherty, who is the Leader of Seanad Éireann, retracted the now-deleted tweet posted on February 1st and the allegation “unreservedly.”
In a statement on Tuesday, she said: “An apology. On the 1st February I published a tweet concerning Pearse Doherty TD in which I made an allegation against him that he had encouraged others to break the law by attending the funeral of the late Bobby Storey.
“I retract the tweet unreservedly and the allegation it made against Mr Doherty. I genuinely regret the upset I have caused him.”
Ms Doherty’s apology refers to Fine Gael’s response to Sinn Féin and Pearse Doherty calling for an independent investigation into the “champagne party” in the Department of Foreign Affairs in June 2020.
Fine Gael politicians Doherty, TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, and Cork Councillor Shane O’Callaghan posted photos of Sinn Féin TDs, including leader Mary Lou McDonald, attending the funeral of Bobby Storey in Belfast which prompted an investigation by the PSNI into whether or not public health restrictions were breached.
Senior Sinn Féin figures were widely criticised for attending the funeral, with claims they broke coronavirus guidelines. However, a decision was made by the Public Prosecution Service not to prosecute anyone in connection with the funeral.
Ms Carroll MacNeill wrote: “Mass breach of restrictions at the height of Covid? Yep. Aware of it? Yep - you were all there. Did you investigate yourselves? Eh……Come on now.”
Ms Doherty added: “Rules are rules but....... typical Sinn Fein whataboutery.”
And Mr O’Callaghan said: “Inquiry into Dept of Foreign Affairs gathering has found @simoncoveney was not present for any breach of Covid guidelines. Unlike @sinnfeinireland whose entire leadership breached Covid guidelines for Storey Funeral. SF obviously think the rules don’t apply to them #Hypocrisy”
“@sinnfeinireland demand investigations and consequences for all breaches of Covid rules except the breach of Covid rules by the entire Sinn Fein leadership in June 2020.
"SF obviously think Covid rules should apply to everyone except for SF Big Wigs. Same carry on as Boris Johnson!”
Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward said it was “crass” to criticise members of the party for attending a “family funeral”.
“It’s very crass to bring in a family funeral in the same light as a champagne party in government buildings,” he said.
“It was a family funeral, this was independently investigated by the PSNI, and nothing came out of that.
“It’s very crass that people are using this, somebody’s funeral, as an opportunity, a man that has family and friends, as an opportunity to put it in the same context as a soiree in a government building.”
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