Belfast Telegraph

IRA victim's sister Ann Travers hits out at Sinn Fein voters

By Claire O'Boyle

Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was murdered by the IRA, has criticised those who voted for Sinn Fein in last week's historic election.

"I'm desperately disappointed that so many nationalists decided to go this way with their vote," said Ann, who was just 14 when her sister was killed.

"Sinn Fein is a party that still justifies murder and the wrecking of families and homes across the country to itself and the public. How can so many nationalists have voted this way instead of another party like the SDLP, which has always promoted peace and condemned violence?"

Teacher Mary was 22 when she was shot dead by gunmen out to kill her father, Catholic magistrate Thomas.

The botched assassination happened as the Travers family walked home from Mass at St Brigid's Catholic Church at Derryvolgie Avenue in south Belfast on April 8, 1984.

While Mr Travers was shot six times and survived, a single shot to the back killed Mary. An attempt to shoot the girls' mother only failed when a gun jammed at point-blank range.

Ann said she felt people's decision to vote in such huge numbers for Sinn Fein in Thursday's election was a slap in the face for victims. She said: "It beggars belief and makes me wonder what way our history and politics is being taught in schools and homes."

Victims' campaigner Ann also said she was astonished by the party's "red line" demand that Arlene Foster must step aside as First Minister.

"In 2011 Caral Ni Chuilin asked if I could meet her for tea and a chat," said Ann. "I said I would if Sinn Fein-appointed Mary McArdle, the only person convicted in the murder of my sister, came along and could tell me who else was involved in my sister's death.

"Ms Ni Chuilin came straight back to say no, that there could be no preconditions before any meeting, and that was that.

"Now they're setting down this huge precondition for the DUP, saying Arlene Foster has to step aside or there's no chance they'll go back into government. It's total hypocrisy."

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