Mick has some thoughts on Mary McArdle standing down as a special advisor below. It may have been that Sinn Fein or Ms. McArdle felt the need for her to move on and as Mick says Ann Travers may on UTV have been determined to see it as an act of reconciliation.
A slightly different analysis of the situation is presented by the News Letter.
Ms Travers said she thought the reason for the timing of the resignation may have been due to a shake up in the Stormont Executive expected at the end of May which may see the Department of Employment axed. It is understood this would necessitate all Stormont special advisors standing down and having to reapply for their posts.
Ms Travers said she thought this process might squeeze Ms McCardle out of her job, as Finance Minister Sammy Wilson introduced new appointment guidelines to stop Special Advisors who have committed terrorist offences from being appointed.
“It makes complete sense that she has resigned now before she was forced out,” Ms Travers said. “When I met Peter Robinson about this issue and asked him if he could do something, he said he would ask Sammy Wilson to hold a review of the appointment process.
“And Sammy assured me there was no way she [Mary McCardle] could ever be appointed again under the new guidelines.”
Ms Travers also thought that moves by TUV leader Jim Allister in the assembly to have convicted terrorists excluded from Special Advisor positions might also have been putting Ms McCardle under pressure.
Jim Allister said:
“convicted murderer Mary McArdle should never have been in post, so her leaving is long overdue. Her appointment and tenure was a dastardly insult to both the Travers family and all innocent victims. The fact that she was appointed in the first place, that another such appointment could be made and that at least one other convicted person acts as a publicly paid Special Adviser in Stormont, underscores the need for my Private Members Bill which will come before the Assembly later in the year.”
Ann Travers also commented on the negative reaction her campaign generated from some. Her’s is possibly not “the language of profound change” which some may want in public debate (albeit NICVA were speaking about political leaders and policy makers). However, Ms. Travers’s eloquent public comments chime with the private ones of all the victims I know. Ann Travers has “earned” the right to be heard whatever some may think and no doubt she wishes she did not have that right, so dearly and horrifically bought for her; against her and her family’s will. Most victims seem to feel likewise and it is inconceivable that Jim Shannon in the House of Commons named an individual he believes is connected to the murder of Lexie Cummings without the support of the Cummings family.
The last word should be left to Ms. Travers:
“I have been told by many people to move on and that we are in a different place now,” she said. “But my attitude to that is that people should stop telling me to shut up. This whole situation has forced me to start grieving for my 23-year-old sister all over again in a way I never expected to happen.”