Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Anger over Sinn Fein aide McArdle's murder regrets

Regret expressed by a Stormont adviser involved in the IRA murder of a primary school teacher in Northern Ireland does not go far enough, the sister of her victim has said.

Ann Travers reacted angrily after Mary McArdle, who was jailed over the killing of her 22-year-old sister Mary in the 1980s, broke her silence over her controversial appointment to the top Assembly role.

Ms Travers said the statement of regret, which stopped short of an apology, should not see her keep the job.

"'Sorry' would have helped but words are words," she said.

"The IRA and Mary McArdle committed an action 27 years ago and now I think action is called for, and the action is that she resign from that post."

Mary Travers was gunned down and her judge father, Tom Travers, badly injured when they were ambushed by an IRA gang as they emerged from church in Belfast in April 1984.

Ms McArdle was jailed over her role in the killing but subsequently released as part of the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998.

The 46-year-old's appointment to the highly paid position of political adviser to Sinn Fein Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin last month whipped up a political furore.

Today she made her first public comment on the issue when she told a local Belfast paper that the murder was a mistake.

"I want to state clearly that the killing of Mary Travers was a tragic mistake and I regret that it happened," she said in the Andersonstown News.

But Ann Travers accused the republican of showing no respect to victims.

"While it may be described as being a mistake, she was shot in the back," she said.

"There were two gunman, one standing over Dad, shooting Dad, and the other one shot my sister in the back and attempted to murder my mother, held the gun up to my mother, my mother's head, but the bullets jammed in the gun."

She told the BBC: "Rather than Mary McArdle and Sinn Fein saying my sister's death was a mistake, what they should be saying is Mary Travers' death and murder is an embarrassment now to us and has come back to haunt us."

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