David Ervine had free will not to join a terror group

The late David Ervine, the former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party. Photo: PA/PA Wire

The late David Ervine, the former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party. Photo: PA/PA Wire

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Brian Ervine, brother of the late David Ervine, tells us that his sibling and predecessor as leader of the PUP, “was driven into the UVF by the Bloody Friday explosions” (Report, January 7).

This is a familiar tale – and an unconvincing one. David Ervine himself used to say that he joined the terrorist UVF because one of the Bloody Friday victims had the same name as himself.

In fact, the murder victim in question was William Irvine – a different Christian name and a variant spelling of the surname.

Quite apart from that, there is no reason why the IRA’s Bloody Friday murders should have “driven” David Ervine to join a murder gang – for that is what the UVF founded in 1966 by Gusty Spence (in distinction from that of 1913) was.

The late Reverend Joseph Parker, father of Stephen Parker, the teenager murdered on Bloody Friday as he tried to warn others about the bombs, didn’t join the UVF; on the contrary, he campaigned for peace. But then the Parkers, father and son, were real heroes; David Ervine was a terrorist with a mania for self-publicity who managed to convince a few sentimental liberals that he was a man of peace.

David Ervine was not “driven” to join the UVF – any more than Martin McGuinness was “driven” to join the IRA.

In common with all the rest of us David Ervine had the gift of free will; he was given the choice between good and evil, and he chose evil.

That is why – and one assumes even Brian Ervine is aware of this – he was arrested in possession of explosives; in other words, he was about to murder just as the IRA had murdered on Bloody Friday.

One hopes we will not hear any more words in praise of this vain and worthless individual.

C.D.C. Armstrong, Belfast BT12

David Ervine would have been disgusted at the abuse of politics