Peter Doran stands shamed by his failure to condemn the murder of Edgar Graham.
The Sinn Fein candidate in Lagan Valley is a lecturer in the law department at Queen’s University, as was Mr Graham when he was shot dead at point blank range by IRA terrorists at the age of 29 in 1983.
A roar is said to have gone up from the students’ union on news of the murder, a low point in the distinguished history of that university. It is to be hoped that the people who responded that way to the news, presumably now professionals in their 50s, have grown up and feel appalled by their response (as opposed to continuing to sympathise with the IRA). People often do behave abominably when young.
Dr Doran, however, does not have the excuse of youth. Nor can he be unaware of the importance of academic freedom of expression and inquiry. He has spoken of his “profound sorrow” at the 1983 murder but that is akin to speaking about a death in a catastrophe for which only nature is to blame.
Even if one accepts the republican argument that the IRA was in a war, the killing of Edgar Graham was a war crime. Dr Doran is either a fanatic who does not think so, or is foolish enough not to realise so or too timid to say so in the face of the Sinn Fein PR machine.
Or maybe he will in time come to condemn the Graham murder, which even if late will be welcome.
The murder happened because the IRA did not like what Mr Graham had to say. The attack had the intended chilling effect on bright young people going into unionist politics.
Dr Doran, a former Green, might be one of those people – growing in number – who think they are helping to modernise and moderate Sinn Fein. In fact they help to sanitise the IRA terror campaign, which involved decades of atrocities.
Knowing that they are in an authoritarian movement, these useful idiots in Sinn Fein do not even speak up against their movement’s most vile past acts.
And meanwhile that movement moralises about legacy issues – a narrative which is also facilitated by fools.