Green's Steven Agnew urges ex-colleague to condemn IRA murder
Steven Agnew has insisted that non-violence has always been a core principle of the Green Party after questions were raised as to how a former deputy leader who defected to Sinn Fein found a home in the party for more than two decades.
Anne Graham - sister of murdered academic Edgar Graham - told Mr Agnew to clarify where the party stands on the murder of political adversaries.
She was referring to the former deputy leader and Queen's law lecturer Peter Doran's refusal to condemn the 1983 murder of Mr Graham, who also lectured in law at QUB.
"This man Doran seems not to have had any Damascene conversion before moving to Sinn Fein and for so long had a happy home in the Greens and held positions of influence there", she wrote in a letter to the Belfast Telegraph.
His biography on Sinn Fein's website describes him as having "worked closely with the Republican leadership in Derry during an early career in journalism in the 1980s".
Mr Agnew said the Green party condemns all murders committed during the Troubles and that he cannot explain why Dr Doran, who left the party in 2011, refuses to condemn the murder of a fellow QUB academic.
"The killing of Edgar Graham is one of thousands of heinous crimes which were unjustifiable at the time and remain so today," he said.
"When Peter Doran was a member of the Green Party he signed up to our principles of democracy and non-violence.
"I would encourage Peter Doran to condemn murder in all its guises despite what the Sinn Fein party line might be."
But Mr Doran again refused to condemn outright the killing of Mr Graham. Yesterday he reiterated his "profound sorrow" over the academic's death, noting that he previously said nothing he could say would be adequate for those who knew and loved him.
"It is my earnest wish that all the victims of the conflict and their loved ones who have been so terribly wronged will participate in a healing that cannot come too soon," he said.