Ben Lowry: Instead of ‘skipping’ an IRA funeral, we still need the right answers to the scandal
There is an example above, a “Penrose step”, named after a psychiatrist and mathematician.
I suspect such images become interesting for older children when they reach a stage where they move from an instinctive understanding of space to a more critical one.
Such drawings are intriguing and also, in their physical impossibility, disturbing.
What happened with Bobby Storey’s funeral is similar.
With the release of Her Majesty’s Police Inspectorate Report last week (HMIC), it’s like walking down an impossible staircase that somehow brings us back to our point of departure.
The funeral itself was easy to understand. As I continue to write and say on the shows, a smart kid would have figured it out.
Sinn Fein headed a huge funeral for an IRA godfather in West Belfast. It was a blatant violation of the limit of 30 mourners at a funeral, a limit that had been lower earlier during the lockdown.
Law aside, the rally was a massive and aggressive violation of the spirit of social distancing.
As the UK and Ireland both emerged from lockdown, it was arguably the largest gathering of people in the British Isles, with 70 million people, since sports festivals such as Cheltenham in March.
Aerial photographs of the IRA funeral winding its way through West Belfast show it was at least as large as the Black Lives Matter gatherings in London or the crowds on southern England beaches in warm weather .
And there at the helm was Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald, who hopes to be Taoiseach, and Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill, Deputy Prime Minister.
SF has always been gloomy about the lockdown and tried to force the closure of NI schools in mid-March 2020, according to the Republic. The party was scathing about the Tory handling of Covid, and has always wanted a slow exit from lockdown (unless southern rules are eased, in which case they want NI to match that).
Yet few were surprised that the police facilitated their funeral. It seemed clear on TV that day.
It was, on the whole, a breathtaking display of Republican arrogance, righteousness and exceptionalism. He also showed that this disregard for both the spirit and the letter of the rules regarding mass gatherings and funerals would be met without any sanction. Because, in fact, he did not finally meet any sanction.
So go back for a moment and think of the intelligent elementary school student of an age capable of meditating on impossible forms.
Children this age will remember that last year for the rest of their lives. They experienced a lockdown that even adults who are now 90 had not seen before.
They have learned to behave in a way that minimizes risk and shows consideration for others.
Such a child will have seen the absolute evil of what happened on June 30. Many of these children will have lost their grandparents during lockdown, so they will have understood how much Storey’s funeral was an insult to the more than 25,000 people who have died at NI since March of last year (most of the time not of Covid), whose funeral advice almost all of the parents obediently followed.
A child of this age will have understood how remarkable it is that a Deputy Prime Minister, who to this day tells us all we can and cannot do – decision-making power that can ruin companies that respect the law – remains suspicious of its role.
Yet the polls in this case have been like impossible steps.
Despite all the legal jargon, subclauses, serious language, crooked hands, and the cachet of bureaucracy, the reports in their entirety did not deem what children might consider false to be false.
Prosecutors say the law was too complicated, even for the SF politicians who helped shape it. HMIC agrees with this.
Prosecutors also say PSNI’s facilitation of the funeral helped make prosecution impossible. Police say they had to dialogue with the organizers, for reasons such as security. HMIC also agrees with this.
The Belfast City Council report says Republicans have not pressured the council to shut down Roselawn for the IRA funeral. Maybe we should assume that just happened.
HMIC says there was no pro-Republican bias because a Loyalist funeral would have been treated the same.
So it remains for us to conclude that it is a coincidence that the Republican movement, which has been so prone to flexing its muscles over the decades, has escaped with such a glaring breach.
And to conclude that the question of the 1000 stewards in uniform that day is not a question which does not deserve neither investigation nor explanation.
And forget about the fact that Stormont’s rules mysteriously changed hours before the funeral.
Thank goodness Stephen Nolan took on a role the BBC investigative strands should have played, and ignored calls to ‘move on’ in this saga and its shocking implications for the rule of law at one time. great community tensions.
Thank goodness the Ulster Unionist Party, which has stood out against the pro-terror leadership of the legacy and against blackmail of keeping Stormont until there is an Irish language law, says now that this saga requires an investigation by a judge.
Hopefully such a probe doesn’t just add an impossible extra level to the staircase.
• Ben Lowry (@ BenLowry2) is Associate Editor of News Letter
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