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Sinn Fein: Mary McArdle's departure isn’t linked to Provo murder

By Anna Maguire

Sinn Fein has denied that Mary McArdle’s departure from her controversial post as Stormont special adviser is connected to her role in an IRA murder.

Mary McArdle — currently a special advisor to Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin — was the subject of considerable controversy last year when her conviction for a role in the 1984 murder of Mary Travers emerged.

Miss Travers (22) was shot in the back after leaving church with her father, magistrate Tom Travers.

Her sister, Ann Travers — who has repeatedly called for Ms McArdle to resign — said she was “absolutely thrilled” on Tuesday night at the news of Ms McArdle’s departure.

A Sinn Fein spokesman denied Ms McArdle’s move to a new position in the party had any link to the row which engulfed her appointment last year.

The spokesman said: “There is no timetable. A position came up in the party and it is a position the party felt Mary should take.

“There is no agenda here.

“There is nothing to tell. She moved on to another position.”

He declined to disclose when Ms McArdle will leave her post or whether she will be based in another Stormont department.

However, Ann Travers said the move creates more questions than answers.

“Sinn Fein says it’s nothing to do with any pressure. But (TUV leader) Jim Allister has a member’s bill going through and that would have been retrospective,” she said.

If passed, the private member’s bill tabled by Mr Allister would ban anyone convicted of an offence which carried a sentence of five years or more from a special adviser’s post in Stormont. The bill would be retrospective.

“I would like to know why she is leaving and I would like it (the response) to be honest,” Ann Travers said.

“There has been enough bull going around. I would like Mary McArdle to be honest as to why she has resigned.

“I want to know who killed Mary and who was involved in the planning.

“I want to tell my children the history of what happened to their auntie and grandad and I’m hopeful that will happen. “I know that she (Mary McArdle) has got her republican principles. I know Sinn Fein does not like to be told what to do.

“What I hope is that they can show a bit of humanity — like they did with the family of Gordon Gallagher.”

Last month, the IRA admitted responsibility for the killing of nine-year-old Gordon Gallagher — which it had tried to blame on the Army. The boy died when an explosive device went off near where he was playing in Derry in 1973.

Last night, Ms Travers added: “I wish she had done this back in May. I hope that Sinn Fein never, ever do that to another family ever, ever, ever again.

“I want to be able to live in the same country as her (Mary McArdle). I do not want to be scared of meeting her on the street.

“So I would love it if they had the guts to answer my questions.”

Quotes

“I hope that Sinn Fein never, ever do that to another family ever, ever, ever again.

“I want to be able to live in the same country as her (Mary McArdle). I do not want to be scared of meeting her on the street.

“So I would love it if they had the guts to answer my questions.”

- Ann Travers, sister of IRA victim Mary Travers

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