Aileen Quinton: I do not want to remember David Ervine, but rather victims of the UVF

The hagiography on show on internet platforms for the terrorist David Ervine, on the anniversary of his death on January 8, has been painful to witness.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 3:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:52 pm
David Ervine’s UVF was ‘For God and Ulster,’ writes Aileen Quinton. "It was sanctioned by neither God nor Ulster"

It has been particularly noticeable amongst some Ulster Unionist Party representatives, with Doug Beattie happily retweeting appalling pap about a man who never renounced the UVF and continued to make excuses for it.

Mr Beattie also gave us “I didn’t know David ... sadly he was before my time ... but he was certainly ahead of his time. I wish we had met.”

Sadly Ervine was not before my time and I wish we hadn’t met.

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Aileen Quinton seen at a 2015 exhibition of art by her late brother Ian. Their mother Alberta was murdered by the IRA in the 1987 Poppy Day atrocity

I was at a fringe do at a Labour Party Conference back in the day and on my guard to avoid tripping over Sinn Fein/IRA. That the place would be awash with its loyalist counterparts had not occurred to me.

I was not up on the Who’s Who of loyalist terrorists and when this David Ervine was mentioned in my group as being about, I asked who he was and was just told he had a colourful past. I thought he meant with women.

Later I found myself in chat with someone in Ervine’s group and on the subject of the Poppy Day Massacre this person said something along the lines of “you see we couldn’t understand how that could happen and you would all do nothing”.

I was disorientated by the comment and didn’t want to believe what I suspected he meant, but some part of me must have known and I recoiled involuntarily, getting the response “you see you’re backing away!”. I was saved from having to explain myself as he then beckoned Ervine over (“Come here Davy”) and introduced us.

The handshake is somethign I don’t actually remember but I know happened. I extricated myself and sought out my friends who confirmed my worst fears when they told me what Ervine actually was.

So no, I don’t want to be ‘Remembering David Ervine...’ I want to be remembering the innocent victims of his UVF and many of them were innocent.

I acknowledge there have been terrorists who did renounce their terrorism and their terrorist organisations. Unfortunately there are very few of them. One of the reasons for this is that far too many are prepared to let them off the hook without that unequivocal renunciation.

A bit of SF/IRA-like sprinkling of ‘peace’ buzzwords, without actually acknowledging the evil of their actions and that of their organisations and fellow terrorists and it’s Open Sesame to all doors, particularly all doors to public funds and gloss of acceptability.

Ah but sure what’s a bit of terrorism and continued sanitisation of the UVF amongst friends — especially when there is an election coming up and a few terrorist supporter votes are up for grabs?

Ervine’s UVF was ‘For God and Ulster’. It was sanctioned by neither God nor Ulster but where does the Ulster Unionist Party now stand on his membership and his failure to renounce it?

It wasn’t only the UUP who were into this sanitisation of Ervine’s evil. Posts bigging up the terrorist were Liked by the Chair of the NI Affairs Select Committee Simon Hoare and Chief of Staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Can he be nominated for a posthumous knighthood?

I suppose I should be thankful that the Anglican church doesn’t create saints!

• Aileen Quinton’s mother Alberta was murdered by the IRA

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