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Murder link aide 'to remain in job'


A Sinn Fein ministerial adviser revealed to be linked to one of the most shocking killings of the Troubles will remain in her job in Northern Ireland's new government, the party has said.

This came after political opponents and a bereaved relative called for Mary McArdle, 46, to be removed from the key Stormont post because of her conviction over the murder of a magistrate's daughter.

The IRA opened fire on Tom Travers and his family as they left mass in south Belfast in April 1984, killing his 22-year-old daughter Mary.

Ms McArdle, convicted after assisting in the killing, is to be adviser to Sinn Fein's Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, who is also a former prisoner.

Ann Travers, a sister of the murdered woman, said she was sickened by the Sinn Fein decision.

"She's now in the position in which she is paid by the taxpayer - of which my mum is one," she said. "I am absolutely horrified that she has been given such a position. I think it's really wrong and I think she should stand down."

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly said ex-prisoners had helped to develop the peace process.

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"Almost half our Assembly team are former political prisoners," he said. "Many more ex-prisoners have played critical and positive roles in bringing the political process to where it is now and will continue to do so."

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Robin Swann, who sits on Stormont's committee for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), said the Sinn Fein appointment was an insult to victims.

"The appointment of Mary McArdle as a special adviser to the new Sinn Fein DCAL minister is a retrograde step," he said.