Loyalist violence a mirror of the old IRA’s campaign against democracy and choice…

Before the day that’s in it unfolds (the report into state collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane), with death threats against politicians again in the air, Ian Parsley turns to a recent anniversary of a political assassination which by and large went unnoted and unnoticed by the local media:

This week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Edgar Graham. He was not someone with whom my party always agreed, but someone we always respected. He was a man of great intellect and integrity and frankly he may well have been an Assembly Member right now, had his life not been taken far too early by those engaging in a campaign of terror while refusing to accept people’s democratic right to take an alternative position.[Emphasis added]

You can read the rest here

, , ,

  • JR

    Well thats the point I have made on this site many times in the past. When two wolves and a sheep vote every day on what to have for dinner it is very easy for the wolves to preach democracy to the Sheep.

  • BarneyT

    When you contrive a state and architect it to serve one specific culture you create an illusion of democracy.

  • Mick Fealty

    How many cultures are we ‘allowing’ today then Barney? One, two, three, more?

  • tacapall

    “Loyalist violence a mirror of the old IRA’s campaign against democracy and choice”

    Nothing one sided and biased about that thread title Mick, were loyalists not already a mirror image of the IRA before the GFA and is using violence for any political purpose not a campaign against democracy and choice. Maybe you wouldn’t call stabbing and hacking a politician to death as violent or similar to shooting someone but most people would.

  • Mick Fealty


    Where did I imply that?

  • The ‘justification’ for killing Edgar Graham given by the PIRA at the time does not hold up because the terms of the GFA in 1998 were almost exactly the same as the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974…

    Therefore, the reason for ending Armed Struggle in 1998/2005 could have also been used back in ’74?

    All Armed actions were ‘justified’ on the premise that there was no alternative to them…However, its plain to see that there was a political alternative to armed struggle an alternative which the same IRA eventually agreed with..

    The question needs to be asked, why the Provisional Leadership continued when there was clearly an alternative? Without an honest answer, the deaths of Graham and everyone else by the PIRA will never be known.

  • tacapall

    The thread title implies Mick that either there was no loyaslist violence pre the IRA ceasefire and the GFA or that loyalist violence only “Now” has evolved into a mirror image of the old IRA tactics, loyalist violence was always here and in the case of the UVF it has never stopped. Using violence for any means can never be justified and taking the life of Edgar Graham because he was espousing the use of supergrasses against those who would use violence is no different than hacking Paddy Wilson and Irene Andrews to death because he was a political opponent and a Catholic and she a traitor for associating with him.

  • Mick Fealty

    You inserted the now, not me. You know I’m no stranger to criticism, but I don’ think I can accept that…

  • tacapall

    I am quite sure you are Mick I was directing my criticism at the thread title not the content within it. What other way would someone who has been affected by loyalist violence see it. Ya know this is what the old IRA used to do and this is whats happening now.

  • michael-mcivor

    Edgar Graham was the main supporter of bringing back interment for Republicans only and wanted the 5 demands which the Hunger-strikers had won to be removed-

    Edgar would have been the leader of the UUP in 1998 and he would have opposed the GFA-to depict Edgar with any member of alliance is a disgrace to history and the facts-

  • BarneyT


    My natural inclination is for an inclusive society with accommodation for all cultures as long as one does not actively corrode another.
    The point I was making was that NI was created in the full knowledge there would be a demographic imbalance. Despite having some of the machinations of democracy, it was inherently undemocratic as a whole.
    There is a difference between a contrived majority and an evolved majority. Unionism in NI is not yet aligned with true democracy and the results it can produce (unless of course they are favourable).

  • Politico68

    The War continued during the seventies and eighties due to the ethno-national strain existing in the North. Sunningdale would have ended it quickly enough but Unionists Terrorists pulled the agreement apart paralysing the North. This increased tensions on all sides and the IRA went into offensive/defensive mode simultaneously. If they hadn’t been around it is quite possible that thousands of Catholics would have been murdered in their beds or Driven from their homes. You can spin it wahtever way u like but there is not a society on the planet that could have avoided conflict if faced with the same nasty regime superiority that existed in the North. The war is over, we should grieve for the dead on all sides and keep moving forward.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    “Graham had also gained attention for his strong arguments publicly supporting internment, the revocation of Special Category Status for republican prisoners, and the British government’s network of informers”

    According to Wiki he also supported the use of police informers, I take it thats the connection to todays report on Finucane and his murder by several police informers.

    I imagine Pat would have also have had a lot to contribute to society if he was alive today, as would many of those murdered by those police informers was so in favour off.

    Whataboutry I know Mick, but it’s also relevant what with the naming off playgrounds etc.

    As song goes …..

    Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
    I’ve seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    And some with a fountain pen.

    tis the same with murder

  • Mick Fealty

    Mickey, are you suggesting he was taken out because the IRA the foresight to ‘know’ he would oppose the GFA?

  • Mick Fealty


    Murder would be the link you’re not looking too hard to find…

  • keano10


    Why just specifically pick Edgar Graham?

    What about John Turnley an Irish Nationalist politician who was assisanted by Loyalists in Carnlough in 1980. Turnley was a protestant from a Unionist background who became drawn to Nationalism in the 1970’s.

    What message did that Loyalist murder gang send out?

    It’s all relative Mick…

  • Mick Fealty

    Ask Ian, but I think it is because the anniversary of his death was a few days ago, as I noted in the link.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Mick, I think my point is (and I mean no offence to Graham) that once again we have someone who is highly regarded one side of the fence yet you would struggle to find a kind word for him on the other side.

    Murder is the obvious and lazy link, a better one would be (according to Wiki) and one which illustrates my point above, is that the reason that Graham was murdered was that he gave legal advice to the Prison Service, Pat was murdered because he gave legal advice to volunteers on trail.

    Where it breaks down and where you stop understanding nationalists is that many believe that Pats murder was setup in the Commons, and after the murder his name has been continously and without any factual evidence blackened.

    Can you say that nationalists did that to Graham? is there a difference in these two men and the reasons they were murdered apart from their community background?

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Keano, IN answer to your question, probably because it’s IJPs blog and his time spent writing. Although he’s had a wee journey thro a number of political parties he’s never tried on any of ours for size, hence it’s fair to say he does what he says on the tin (if that makes sense) and with minimum effort you and I can have our tuppence worth as well

  • Mick Fealty


    “…you would struggle to find a kind word for him on the other side.”

    Nach e sin an pointe?

  • keano10

    Cheers Reg 🙂

  • GavBelfast

    Isn’t there a pot somewhere where (too) many of you could go and all boil your heads?

    There is as dire an atmosphere and level of discourse at the moment as as been the situation in ‘real’ life about the place.

    Does no one like the idea of ‘win-win’?

  • Clanky

    Mick – “How many cultures are we ‘allowing’ today then Barney? One, two, three, more?”

    Instead of trying to accommodate two distinct cultures we should be working towards one single culture and one single identity, I know it’s easier said that done, but as long as there are two distinct groups then Northern Ireland will be a petrol bomb waiting for a match.

    Just look at Yugoslavia, distinct ethnic groups living side by side in peace, but so very easily flashed up into one of the worst conflicts in human history.

    The idiots in Stormont as well as the idiots in Belfast City hall and elsewhere need to show some leadership and work seriously toward a shared future rather than vying for power as they are now.

  • Mick Fealty


    I am not sure what the problem is.

    We still don’t know why Finucane was targeted, tracked and killed. And since no one has been convicted for the Graham murder we have even less idea why he was killed.

    Giving legal advice to the prison service is a new one on me. He was certainly ‘a rising star’ of the UUP at the time, elected to the Assembly of 1982.

    Looked to me like a way of putting the chill on your opponents. It’s one of the things you are ‘allowed to do’ when you don’t play the democratic game.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    ‘…since no one has been convicted for the Graham murder we have even less idea why he was killed.’

    He was killed by the PIRA, because PIRA was a murderous terrorist organisation, and Graham was among its most implacable opponent. He was also a (comparatively) eloquent proponent of policies that PIRA opposed.

    In short, Edgar Graham and PIRA were enemies.

    What further explanation are you looking for?

  • Billy Pilgrim


    ‘Looked to me like a way of putting the chill on your opponents…’

    You are far too modest in your language. It was an attempt by PIRA to terrorise its opponents. (In fact, enemy is a much more accurate word.) Of course it was.

    And no, they were never ‘allowed to do it.’ Had the killers of Edgar Graham been caught, they would have spent many years behind bars. (Indeed it’s entirely possible that they did – although no-one was ever convicted of this heinous crime, it wouldn’t be surprising if the culprits served time for other things.)

  • keano10


    I have no more idea why Graham was killed than you do. It was wrong. Full stop.

    What I do object is the imbalanced basis of your argument here i.e that the targetting of political opponents was some sort of tactic that was exclusive to PIRA.

    I can think of a number of Nationalist politicians brutallt murdered by loyalist terrorists :

    John Turnley (Irish Independence Party) murdered Carnlough 1980
    Senator Paddy Wilson (SDLP) murdered Belfast 1973
    Maire Drumm (Sinn Fein) murdered in a hospital bed Mater Hospital 1973

    There were many more particularly within Sinn Fein party ranks who lost their lives.

    Surely any comments you make on campaigns of political assasination here must be balanced. If there was targetting of Unionist Politicians as part of a strategy then it certainly worked both ways in this part of the world.

  • carl marks

    “The ‘justification’ for killing Edgar Graham given by the PIRA at the time does not hold up because the terms of the GFA in 1998 were almost exactly the same as the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974…

    Therefore, the reason for ending Armed Struggle in 1998/2005 could have also been used back in ’74? ”

    Nearly in total agreement with you ( never thought I would say that) except to add that the same applies in 2012, can you think of anybody planting bombs and shooting people who could be told to pack it and stop acting like dinosaurs?

  • Mick Fealty


    When have you ever seen me be balanced in the way you suggest? The anniversary of Graham’s death was last week, and Ian picked and I picked it up from him.

    Why would I go back to the terrible fates handed out of Paddy Wilson (and Irene Andrews), or even his fellow senator, Billy Fox every time I make specific point about a specific incident?

    These people were all picked off and killed singly.