Northern Ireland

Mary Travers murder 'haunts Sinn Fein and Mary McArdle'

Mary Travers
Image caption Mary Travers was murdered by the IRA in 1984

The sister of Mary Travers has said it is not good enough for a woman jailed for her 1984 murder to say it was a "tragic mistake".

Ann Travers was reacting to Mary McArdle's first interview since her controversial appointment to a top Sinn Fein job at Stormont.

Mary McArdle was part of an IRA gang who ambushed magistrate Tom Travers and his family as they left Mass.

Ms Travers said: "Words are words... the action she needs to do is resign."

Ms McArdle told the Andersonstown News - in her first public comments since she was appointed as special adviser to Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin - that she regretted that it happened and she did not believe anything she said could ease the family's grief.

"If I were to begin to describe the specific context of conflict I would be accused of trying to justify her death, and I have no wish to do that."

But Ms Travers said: "Rather than Mary McArdle and Sinn Fein saying her death was a mistake, what they should be saying is Mary Travers' murder is an embarrassment which has come back to haunt us."

She said her 23-year-old sister's death could not have been a mistake because she was shot in the back.

The Chair of the Victims Commission Brendan McAllister said Ms Travers' comments had "been important in giving voice to the feelings of many victims who often experience the peace process as adding insult to their life-long injury".

Ms McArdle told the newspaper she had played "a constructive and positive role in winning and maintaining support for the peace process within the nationalist and republican community".

Ms Travers said she believed her appointment was a breach of the Good Friday Agreement's code of conduct for ministers as it did not promote good community relations.

She said Ms McArdle knew it would "cause upset but hoped it would blow over".

"It hasn't blown over for us, and this last week has just been dreadful," she added.

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