SER­VICE RE­MEM­BERS MUR­DERED POLITI­CIAN EDGAR GRA­HAM’S SIS­TER PAYS TRIB­UTE

Belfast Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - BY STE­WART ROB­SON

THE sis­ter of mur­dered union­ist politi­cian Edgar Gra­ham chal­lenged the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein as she ad­dressed a poignant cer­e­mony to mark the 35th an­niver­sary of his death.

Anne Gra­ham spoke at a me­mo­rial ser­vice out­side the univer­sity yesterday for her brother, who was shot dead by the IRA in 1983.

Mr Gra­ham was a bar­ris­ter and law lec­turer as well as a promis­ing politi­cian, tipped as a fu­ture leader of the Ul­ster Union­ist party.

Wreaths were laid at the spot where he died, across from the Queen’s Film Theatre, dur­ing a ser­vice or­gan­ised by stu­dents.

Union­ist politi­cians at­tend­ing the event in­cluded for­mer First Minister Lord Trim­ble, UUP leader Robin Swann and DUP MP Emma Lit­tle-Pen­gelly.

A lone piper played a lament af­ter a minute’s si­lence.

Speak­ing to the crowd, Ms Gra­ham said the me­mo­rial was oc­cur­ring on a bright day but that it was a dark day when she lost her brother.

“I heard on the 11am news head­lines that a politi­cian had been shot at Queen’s,” she said. “I knew in­stantly it was Edgar. “Min­utes later, as I tried des­per­ately to find out what hos­pi­tal he was be­ing taken to, it was an­nounced that Edgar Gra­ham had been shot dead at Queen’s. The world pretty much stopped and changed for me then.”

No one has ever been con­victed of Mr Gra­ham’s mur­der.

His sis­ter has been a vo­cal critic of Sinn Fein, say­ing that it had never con­demned the killing of the bar­ris­ter.

She openly chal­lenged the party’s deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill, at an event at the univer­sity in Oc­to­ber.

In her speech yesterday, she once again touched on the sub­ject.

“It is not enough to be a peace lover,” said Ms Gra­ham.

“I will keep on hon­our­ing my brother’s mem­ory and de­fend­ing his ca­reer and char­ac­ter.

“I will call out the hypocrisy of oth­ers, but I will also talk to the peo­ple who refuse to recog­nise mur­der for mur­der.

“I will try to con­vince them there is a bet­ter way.”

She added: “Some­times the con­ver­sa­tion is more im­por­tant than the an­swer and some­times the con­ver­sa­tion has to be be­hind closed doors.”

Queen’s stu­dent Calvin Reid, who helped or­gan­ise the ser­vice in co-op­er­a­tion with Ms Gra­ham, said the death had been a “dev­as­tat­ing blow”.

Mr Reid said the pur­pose of the event was to “re­mem­ber a man of great in­tegrity”.

He said: “As young peo­ple it is wor­ry­ing for us that there are those within so­ci­ety who don’t be­lieve that what hap­pened here was wrong.

“We long for a so­ci­ety that is shared, a North­ern Ire­land where dif­fer­ent peo­ple can have a range of views and be­liefs and where there is last­ing peace, but that so­ci­ety must be built upon the prin­ci­ples of truth and jus­tice.”

Ul­ster Union­ist leader Robin Swann laid a wreath and said Mr Gra­ham had had the po­ten­tial to be a leader of the party.

“The mur­der of Edgar Gra­ham in De­cem­ber 1983 was a huge loss to both his fam­ily and to union­ism,” he said.

“There is no doubt that his tal­ent and abil­ity had al­ready marked him out as a fu­ture leader of the Ul­ster Union­ist party and that North­ern Ire­land could have been a very dif­fer­ent place had he been al­lowed to live.

“I would like to praise the Queen’s stu­dents who or­gan­ised what was a very thought­ful and dig­ni­fied com­mem­o­ra­tion at Queen’s to­day and my thoughts are with Edgar’s fam­ily at this time.”

DUP MLA Christo­pher Stal­ford, who was born in the same year that the Assem­bly­man was mur­dered, paid trib­ute to him.

“Thirty five years later peo­ple still re­mem­ber him be­cause of the mas­sive con­tri­bu­tion he made to union­ist pol­i­tics,” he said. “He stood for democ­racy, he stood for free­dom and he stood for the rule of law and that’s why he was tar­geted.

“It’s im­por­tant that we hon­our his life by say­ing that those who en­gage in ter­ror­ism will never pre­vail over those who en­gage in demo­cratic pol­i­tics.”

Stu­dents con­trib­uted money to­wards a framed me­mo­rial quilt which was pre­sented to Ms Gra­ham at the ser­vice.

PACE­MAKER

Anne Gra­ham (cen­tre) is joined by Lord Trim­ble andUUP leader Robin Swann for the act of re­mem­brance on the 35th an­niver­sary of her brother Edgar’s mur­deryesterday. Be­low, from left, Edgar Gra­ham; Robin Swann lays a wreath, and DUP MP Emma Lit­tlePen­gelly

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