Perhaps the all-Ireland Greens would feel at home with the SDLP

The Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster

The coming Westminster election seems likely to be crucial for the future of Northern Ireland.

Living in South Belfast, and given the plurality of parties which have stood there in recent Assembly elections, many of the urban and professional elite who live there have believed themselves above the grubbiness and factionalism which passes for politics here.

Edgar Graham, Ulster Unionist MLA and Queen's University lecturer, shot dead at point blank range by the IRA in December 1983 at the edge of the university

Edgar Graham, Ulster Unionist MLA and Queen's University lecturer, shot dead at point blank range by the IRA in December 1983 at the edge of the university

It is noticeable that many of these are now starting to pay attention to what is going on around them now that it is hitting them and their children where it hurts – in the pocket.

Sadly many of them may be taken in by the glib statements and facile promises made on air and in the election material which will be landing on their doorsteps in the next few weeks.

Take for example the Green Party, which got itself in to the headlines this week for talking up a pact with the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

The Greens do well in South Belfast which has many disillusioned unionist voters but nowhere on the website for the Green Party NI will you find it stated that it is part of the Green Party of Ireland and has been so since 2006.

Perhaps the Green Party would feel quite at home in an alliance with the SDLP; likewise one of the founders of the Green Party in Ireland and a former member of its National Executive, former media officer of the Greens NI and former Deputy Leader of the Greens NI until he quit over economic issues was Peter Doran.

You may recall the name, as he is a Queen’s University lecturer in their law department who stood in the last Assembly elections as a member of Sinn Fein and insulted the family of Edgar Graham, also a law lecturer and an elected representative, with his patronising dismissal of his murder.

Given the opportunity to clarify his comments and condemn the murder of Edgar, Doran declined to do so as did Queen’s University.

Perhaps the Green Party would like to clarify where it stands on murder of those who are effective opponents given that this man Doran seems not to have had any Damascene conversion before moving to Sinn Fein and for so long had a happy home in the Greens and held positions of influence there.

Anne Graham, Belfast (Anne Graham is Edgar Graham’s sister and since composing this letter the Green Party leader Steven Agnew has condemned the 1983 murder of Mr Graham, who was shot dead at point blank range on the edge of Queen’s University in 1983. Ms Graham wrote a powerful piece for the News Letter about her brother’s murder, and the repeated failure of Dr Doran to condemn it, in February)