Belfast Telegraph

TUV chief's Bill targets McArdle

Jim Allister is planning an Assembly Bill to outlaw the appointment of a convicted murderer to a special adviser's post at Stormont.

The TUV leader appeared at Stormont with Ann Travers, whose sister was murdered by the culture minister's special adviser, Mary McArdle.

Ms Travers has said she felt physically sick at the appointment of Ms McArdle by Sinn Fein minister Caral Ni Chuilin and called on her to resign.

Mr Allister said: "Today I am calling upon all who believe in basic human decency, unionist and nationalist, to support my proposals.

"The Bill presents Stormont with an opportunity to right a great wrong. It will remove someone convicted of the most grievous of offences from an extravagantly well-paid job and prevent the situation from ever arising again."

The legislation would disqualify anyone with a criminal conviction with a sentence of five years or more from the post of special adviser. It would mean anybody in the position convicted of such an offence would cease to hold the office.

Ms McArdle was convicted of murdering Mary Travers in 1984. She was part of an IRA gang which ambushed magistrate Tom Travers and his family in 1984 as they left Mass in south Belfast, shooting his daughter Mary, 22, dead.

Ms McArdle was sentenced to a life term for the murder and was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

First Minister Peter Robinson has asked Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to carry out a review of the process for the appointment of special advisers.

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