Belfast Telegraph

IRA victim's sister condemns Gerry Adams comments on legitimate use of violence

By Claire McNeilly

The sister of a 22-year-old schoolteacher who was shot dead by the IRA as she walked home from church has said it is time for world leaders to hold Gerry Adams to account.

Ann Travers was speaking on the 34th anniversary of Mary's brutal murder after the former Sinn Fein president said that violence was a legitimate means of achieving political aims.

The Louth TD also told German newspaper Der Spiegel ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that the Troubles were justified given the circumstances in Northern Ireland.

But Mary's heartbroken sister Ann reacted furiously to his comments and called on world leaders "to take him to task" for what he has said.

"It's beyond compare," she said. "I feel like I'm always up against a brick wall.

"I shouldn't have been surprised when I read it but I actually couldn't believe it, especially whenever Mary Lou McDonald, the new Sinn Fein president, speaks about not tolerating any abuse over IRA victims and yet here we have Gerry Adams still justifying the murder and mayhem that was caused here.

"Has he learnt nothing? Have they learnt nothing?

"Has he not listened to victims over the past 20 years?"

Ann said it was all the more traumatic to hear his views on the anniversary of the day her sister was brutally killed on April 8, 1984, as she walked home from Mass.

"It is very important that he is held to account by the British, Irish and American Governments," she added.

"They (the IRA) still justify going out and murdering human beings going about their daily business, whether it was walking home from church - as my beautiful sister was on this day 34 years ago, with my father and mother - or someone out tending their farm land, or somebody out socialising, or somebody out just doing their job.

"It's quite incredible that Gerry Adams still thinks that to achieve political aims it's okay for violence."

She added: "World leaders have congratulated Gerry Adams on how things have progressed here.

"The President of the United States of America invited him to the White House. This year he was given the accolade of having St Patrick's Day in New York named after him. Do any of these people realise that this man still thinks it's okay for violence to achieve political aims?

In the interview Mr Adams was asked: "Is violence a legitimate means with which to reach one's aims?"

He replied: "I think in given circumstances.

"And the circumstances at that time in the north were that people were being denied their rights."

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