Belfast Telegraph

Joan Travers died without seeing justice for her daughter. It is still not too late for us to do right by other victims

Editor's Viewpoint

The death of Joan Travers - the mother of Mary Travers, who was murdered by the Provisional IRA, and Ann, who continues to campaign for justice - is the sad end of a courageous and noble woman whose family suffered so much in the Troubles.

Her magistrate husband Tom was seriously injured in the gun attack outside the Travers' church following Mass. The killers pointed a gun at Mrs Travers' head but the weapon misfired twice.

Clearly it was an attempt to wipe out the family. Mary Ann McArdle was jailed for life for her part in the murder, but was released after 14 years as part of the Belfast Agreement.

Another IRA suspect was cleared, but the people who fired the guns have not been convicted. Sadly, Joan Travers never lived to see the person who took the life of her beautiful, kind schoolteacher daughter serve time.

Regrettably, her other daughter Ann is another grieving relative left bereft in the most shocking of circumstances, without seeing full justice done.

Think of all the years that went by with these emotional wounds continually opened, and with nothing substantive in place to deal with the victims.

Ann continued to campaign bravely, and she was responsible for the passing of a Bill banning anyone with a serious criminal conviction from becoming a special adviser at Stormont.

At least in that sense society's representatives behaved properly towards people such as Ann Travers.

With the Stormont talks due to resume next week, the death of Mary Travers, the death of her father some years later, and now her mother's death should refocus our thoughts in every sense.

We think about the past atrocities, which we fervently hope we have left behind, and also about the need for us to do the right thing now to help those for whom - unlike Joan Travers - it is still not too late.

Belfast Telegraph


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