Hardline unionist Graham dies at 64

George Graham
George Graham

HARDLINE Co Down unionist politician and councillor George Graham died on Tuesday after an illness in hospital. He was 64 and had been in failing health in recent years.

Mr Graham, from Kilkeel, was most prominent during his time with the DUP.

He was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly at the 1982 election representing South Down, and remained a member until the Assembly closed in 1986.

He was co-opted onto Newry and Mourne District Council in 1975, becoming that body’s first DUP member and in 1982 he was elected council chairman.

In the summer of 1985 he accompanied the Rev Ivan Foster and Down DUP councillor Ethel Smyth on a banned loyalist parade through the nationalist village of Castlewellan. Loyalists clashed with the RUC, but the ban was upheld and both Mr Graham and Mr Foster were arrested for their involvement.

UUP Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy has expressed his sadness at the passing of his former council colleague.

Mr Graham, who ran an estate agency in Kilkeel, was a prominent member of the loyal orders in Mourne district.

He is survived by his wife Florence and six children.