Finance department will not pay for McArdle replacement

Sammy wilson Sammy Wilson said Sinn Fein had failed to comply with fresh security clearance regulations.

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The Department of Finance is refusing to pay for a new Sinn Fein special adviser at Stormont.

NI Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said the party had failed to comply with fresh security clearance regulations.

The regulations were published following controversy over former SF adviser Mary McArdle and her role in the IRA murder of Mary Travers in 1984.

Sinn Fein said any change in procedures must have Executive approval and no approval had been given.

A party spokesman said he was not aware of any issue over the new adviser, Jarlath Kearney's payment.

Ms McArdle had been convicted for her part in the shooting of the young school teacher in 1984.

Teacher Mary Travers, 22, was shot as she left Mass at Derryvolgie, Belfast, with her father, magistrate Tom Travers. Ms McArdle was sentenced to a life term and was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Her appointment as special adviser to the culture minister, Caral Ni Chuilin, sparked controversy in 2011.

Ms McArdle recently left her post at the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

Vetting

Sinn Fein later said it was part of normal party policy to rotate staff.

In an interview last year, Ms McArdle told the Andersonstown News she did not believe anything she said could ease the family's grief.

The party has replaced her with Mr Kearney, a former journalist.

But the BBC has learned that the Department of Finance is refusing to pay Mr Kearney's salary.

"I do not know whether the individual would have got through the security vetting or not.

"It has not been applied for and if it has not been applied for then the guidance has not been adhered to and therefore payment will not be made from the public purse," Mr Wilson said.

He said he would look again at the issue if Sinn Fein applied for security clearance for Mr Kearney.

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