Sinn Fein yesterday began to rehabilitate Barry McElduff yesterday, not long after he quit as MP.
Mr McElduff insists that he was not mocking the Protestant victims of the IRA massacre at Kingsmill in 1975 by balancing a Kingsmill loaf of bread on his head on the anniversary of the atrocity.
But many people are sceptical because Mr McElduff has celebrated IRA serial killers such as the Loughgall gang and his party not only celebrates a man implicated in Kingsmill, Raymond McCreesh, it wanted a children’s playpark named after him (a move local SDLP did not oppose).
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein politicians have been asked if they condemn another of the IRA’s many heinous crimes, the 1983 murder of the lawyer, academic and unionist politician Edgar Graham at Queen’s University Belfast.
Repeatedly they have turned down that opportunity. Some naive people think it is progress when SF representatives express ‘regret’ at the death, but do not condemn it. It is not progress, it is stasis: the old republican way of saying they do not think shooting a lecturer was wrong. Well, it was not only wrong but one of the key Troubles acts of terror, trying to scare people out of unionist politics.
It is touching that yesterday’s memorial on the 35th anniversary of the murder was organised by students who had not been born when it happened, and addressed by Edgar’s sister, Anne, who is a dignified voice in commemoration of her brother, whose death gets little scrutiny.