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‘McArdle should have got sack’

By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein should have sacked the special adviser convicted for her part in the IRA murder of magistrate’s daughter Mary Travers, Sammy Wilson has insisted.

Or else — the Finance Minister said — the senior aide, Mary McArdle, should herself have decided to stand down.

The comments came as his review into the method of appointing senior Stormont advisers nears completion.

But any new proposals, designed to make the system less open to controversy in future, will not be applied retrospectively.

Mr Wilson made his call on the BBC’s Spotlight programme last night which focused on the row over the appointment of Ms McArdle as adviser to the Culture and Arts Minister, Caral Ni Chuilin.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the East Antrim MP said: “What I am saying is that this would have been the easiest way out, either for her to have resigned or been dismissed.

“This whole controversy has brought the Assembly into disrepute, stoked anger among the |victims — rightful anger, in my view — and that could have been defused by her stepping aside.

“But I know that she is not going to do that, and Sinn Fein are not going to sack her.”

Mr Wilson’s report, commissioned by First Minister Peter Robinson after he met members of the Travers family, should be finished within the next few days.

But it remains unclear whether it will be sent to Mr Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness before being distributed to other ministers and being made public.

After his meeting with the family at party headquarters, DUP leader Mr Robinson said the appointment of Ms McArdle was “insensitive and a mistake”.

Mr McGuinness, however, said that while the killing of the magistrate's daughter was “wrong” and “should never have happened”, Sinn Fein would not reconsider the appointment.

“The big question that people have to answer is: are people |who have been part of the conflict, are they entitled to have a role |in building a better future?” |he said.

Background

Controversy has raged since it emerged a woman jailed over the murder of primary school teacher Mary Travers has been appointed a senior Stormont aide. Mary McArdle was part of the gang which ambushed the Travers family as they left Mass in 1984. The intended target was Miss Travers’ father, magistrate Tom Travers.

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