It is shameful if a fellow law lecturer won’t say the murder of my brother, Edgar Graham, was wrong

The late Edgar Graham, an Ulster Unionist MLA and Queen's University lecturer, who was shot dead by the IRA at the age of 29 on the edge of the university
The late Edgar Graham, an Ulster Unionist MLA and Queen's University lecturer, who was shot dead by the IRA at the age of 29 on the edge of the university

All week the News Letter has been reporting on Peter Doran’s failure to condemn the murder of Edgar Graham. The controversy has prompted Edgar’s sister ANNE GRAHAM to make her first extensive public comments on his 1983 murder. Here they are:

Crocodile Tears.

“Edgar Graham, that is a matter of profound sorrow to me, of course.”

Mr Peter Doran was referring to the murder of my brother.

SF academic again emphasises his sorrow but won’t say Edgar Graham murder was wrong

Like Mr Doran my brother was a law lecturer at Queen’s University.

Anyone reading this casually might think how progressive this is.

I have never been a politician and I am not entering the political arena but I do know that with politicians it is not what you say that is critical but rather what you do not say.

Perhaps the statement has been edited unfairly but if so it will be easy for Mr Doran to correct this. Was it wrong for two gunmen to shoot my brother five or six times in the back of the head? What “conflict” was he involved in? He was a politician and a law lecturer.

He argued his point of view articulately and confidently.

He never took up arms or incited or encouraged anyone else to do so (unlike many of his unionist contemporaries); rather he fought them with words and travelled the length and breadth of Ireland arguing his case and winning respect across the board of opinion.

He rebuilt and revitalised the Young Unionists. People like Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene Foster and Peter Weir would have known his influence in their early days.

There are many articulate people today and then who become the “goto” person of the tv studios and radio stations as he was then. The difference was he also put himself forward as a candidate for the public vote and was duly elected to the Assembly.

Yet Mr Doran refers to his life as being a tragic choice as if participating in democratic politics is to expose oneself to being shot down callously.

My brother was excoriated by unionist party colleagues and unionist politicians for speaking against the death penalty for terrorists here, yet Mr Doran has said nothing to indicate that he abjures the arbitrary exercise of the death penalty meted out by his fellow travellers in such a barbaric fashion.

Does he know about head wounds? They cause a lot of bleeding, so the police come to the door with a black bin bag of bloody clothes and advise you not to look at them. What do you tell your mother when she asks what happened to Edgar’s new overcoat?

Is this the future Sinn Fein is still offering? The consensus appear to me to building that many of the issues that were problems in Northern Ireland would have been resolved possibly sooner rather than later if the IRA had not taken up arms and exacerbated the problems by that very act.

My brother was murdered by IRA terrorists of one label or another, possibly in collusion with loyalist terrorists and unionist politicians, possibly with the assistance of staff and students in the law faculty.

Neither I nor any other member of my family circle ever considered that it would be right or appropriate to harm or kill any terrorist or nationalist in revenge. I have albums of letters and cards from across the world and across political lines expressing real sorrow at the execution of my brother.

Civilised society demands that we find ways to deal with differences other than using guns and explosives. It is shameful if Mr Doran as a law lecturer is unable to distinguish right and wrong. What dignity or respect is he showing to me? It is a relief that my parents are not alive to be hurt by this.

It’s time for Sinn Fein to leave the 16th century behind. The Plantation happened. It’s over. The rest of Europe has had world wars with Germans,

Russians and French marching backwards and forwards across their lands raping and pillaging but we don’t hear them whingeing about it. Join the 21st century.

Mr Doran – my brother in no way deserved that death.

I chose the words on the memorial tablet at Stormont, ending “Keep alive the light of justice.”

Please reflect on this and if you cannot do it in public acknowledge it in your heart and shed real tears instead of crocodile tears.

SF academic again emphasises his sorrow but won’t say Edgar Graham murder was wrong

Sinn Fein law lecturer won’t condemn IRA murder of QUB academic

News Letter editorial: Sinn Fein academic is shamed by his failure to condemn the IRA murder of a predecessor

Alex Kane: The IRA murdered Edgar Graham because he could have changed Northern Ireland

Trevor Ringland: Clarity is needed from Sinn Fein candidate on barbaric murder of academic