Shane Paul O’Doherty’s words of Christian integrity

Shane Paul O'Doherty, the former IRA bomber who now repudiates violence doing a presentation to 2,500 college students in Madrid about his thoughts on repentance. He objected to Rev Jesse Jackson laying a wreath at the grave of Martin McGuinness.
Shane Paul O'Doherty, the former IRA bomber who now repudiates violence doing a presentation to 2,500 college students in Madrid about his thoughts on repentance. He objected to Rev Jesse Jackson laying a wreath at the grave of Martin McGuinness.

I have quite by chance today come across the third of Shane Paul O’Doherty’s pieces in the Belfast New Letter on the repudiation of political violence and the need for repentance of all Christians for their sins (May 6, ‘Terrorists should be told that they must repent fully’ – the link to the left which has part three of the stories includes within it links to parts one and two of O’Doherty’s articles).

He is a rare voice of integrity, humility and compassion among us, and his words of Christian love and friendship hold out to us all the hope of a peaceful and reunited Ireland that I fully share with him as an old-fashioned Gladstonian and Parnellite (an English blow-in to Trinity College Dublin in 1968).

In the 1980s I had the rare experience of teaching Mr O’Doherty the medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and I am sure that it is not necessary for me to tell your readers of the vigour of his contributions to seminar discussions from the special standpoint of his own experience in Derry/Londonderry after Bloody Sunday.

I think I owe it to my old friend Professor Terence Brown for the brilliant idea of inviting him to the School of English to continue his medieval studies among us.

If we are serious about a reunited Ireland and an Ireland filled with love and friendship not hatred we need to listen to his words. The experience he has gone through since Bloody Sunday gives him a special authority to speak out.

I’m afraid that I am not only a blow-in but an English Prod and a member of the Church of Ireland.

Perhaps Paul can have a word with our old rugby friend from Wesley, Richard Clarke. He has now got the Top Job in Armagh.

But I hope he will still listen to our combined words of wisdom and our abiding love of Ireland.

Dr Gerald Morgan, FTCD, (English Parliamentary Party, 2001), Dublin