Gerry Kelly: “and I don’t like being critical of the media…”

In the face of continued criticism of their decision to appoint Mary McArdle as a special advisor to Northern Ireland Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Sinn Féin have informed the media of ‘loyalist threats’ against Mary McCardle, Carál Ní Chuilín and Gerry Kelly, MLA.  The PSNI, as usual, have neither confirmed nor denied threats against named individuals.

But Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly has taken the opportunity to point a finger of blame at the media.  From the BBC report

Mr Kelly said his party would be willing to meet the Travers family – but attacked sections of the media for their focus on the story.

He said thousands of republicans had gone through jail.

“Are you going to say that none of them deserve a job?” he said.

“Let me be critical of the media – and I don’t like being critical of the media – as far as I heard from Ms Travers she didn’t even know about this until it was raised with her by the media.”

Tell that to Martina Purdy, Gerry.  Or anyone else asking “stupid” questions.

The NI Culture Minister, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has gone further

Carál Ní Chuilín has blamed those highlighting the appointment of convicted killer Mary McArdle to a top Stormont post for creating the right circumstances for such threats to be made.

“I have every confidence in Mary McArdle and Sinn Féin will not allow ourselves to be intimidated either by direct threats or by people creating conditions in which these types of threats are made,” the Culture Minister said.

Not that such alleged threats haven’t been reported before.  But since those loyalist paramilitary groups are, apparently, controlled by agents of the British government these latest particularly convenient reported ‘threats’ are…?


Ann Travers has responded to Gerry Kelly’s offer

On Thursday, Ms Travers said: “I would happily meet Gerry Kelly, but I’ll happily meet him after Mary McArdle stands down.

“I know what would happen if I went in to meet Gerry Kelly, he would start to bully me and he would be telling me all about the Good Friday Agreement.”

She added: “I am happy for Mary McArdle to have any other job within Sinn Fein, one that’s not paid for by the taxpayer.

“She is an unelected convicted murderer going into a highly paid job up at Stormont and I think that is just morally wrong.”

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  • Yep, says it all, and of course its the fault of the media he could hardly blame Ms Travers, yet.

    SF will get away with it they always do, the real cost will be the lost votes SF might have gained and more grist to the mill of the enemies of a united Ireland.

  • lamhdearg

    consPIRAcy colluison , we demand a public enquiry

  • Blissett

    Saw a piece about it on the RTE, she seemed to suggest that the public nature of the role made it more unsuitable then employment generally. How public is the role? Honest question.

    RTE piece left a bit to be desired all the same. The above threats werent even mentioned unless I am mistaken.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    “convenient reported ‘threats’ are”.

    If we do get details of these threats will you be referring back to this post and correcting yourself?

    Just noticed that Unionists like yourself categorize Northern Ireland stories under Region: Northern Ireland, UK Nats like Mark Mc Gregor goes with Region: Ireland, Northern Ireland ( Ireland first for Mark) and Aan goes just for Region: Northern Ireland Alan must be Alliance?

    I thought these Tags were just supposed to be informative/geogrpahical, ideology seems always manages to just poke its nose in.

  • perseus

    axe-grinding & trolling .. or comment & criticism
    where is the line?

  • perseus

    I thought you asked for this thread?

  • sammy the tags are automatically organised alphabetically actually

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Ok Mooch.

    Do your tags give you away?

  • Pete Baker

    Try to focus on the actual topic, Sammy.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    … well I did ask you a question and am hanging round waiting for a reply.

  • perseus

    indeed pippa
    the point of this thread however is to downplay or ridicule
    the death threat ,despite this: from hyperlink 7

    “Police told him of the danger posed by a splinter paramilitary group called the Orange Volunteers.

    which is why i think sammy’s:
    “If we do get details of these threats will you be referring back to this post and correcting yourself? ”

    is precisely, perhaps uncomfortably, on topic

  • Pete Baker

    As I mentioned in the original post, it’s

    “Not that such alleged threats haven’t been reported before.”

  • tacapall

    Pete are you saying that Sinn Fein are making these threats up to divert attention from the appointment of Mary McArdle ? So if any attempt is made on the lives of those threatened can we now point the finger and say “Just like the Rosemary Nelson case threats were made but were ridiculed by those who created the conditions whereby the threats were made in the first place, you know, someone rolls the snowballs and others …… etc. But then when it comes to Unionism, thats within the defination of “Our morality”

  • ayeYerMa

    tapcall, Provisional Sinn Fein don’t exactly have a reputation for being truthful on anything (especially the likes of Adams or Kelly). Only a fool would believe any of their words without hard evidence or actions.

  • Henry94

    Sinn Fein have to stand firm on this appointment. Ex-prisoners can never be treated as second-class citizens and are as entitled to be appointed to public positions as anybody else. The “taxpayers” include Sinn Fein voters and they have spoken in the election.

    Sinn Fein are going to be attacked no matter what they do so they might as well do what they like. In particular any attempt to divide ex-prisoners from the rest of society must be rejected out of hand in all circumstances.

  • Ann Travers has correctly observed that meeting the ex-members of the republican death squads would be rather futile in that the Shinners are not for turning. Can she persuade them to relieve McArdle of her elevated position? Not a chance. Sinn Fein are as entrenched as their beloved opponents (or allies) in the DUP. This proposed meeting is merely a propaganda exercise for Sinn Fein. It wouldn’t be like them to exploit a propaganda opportunity, now would it?!
    I like Pete Baker’s hint that the so-called death threats from the invisible Orange Volunteers have neither been confirmed nor denied. It’s funny how when this furore erupted around lunch-time on Wednesday, the ex-members of the republican death squads were all ‘in a meeting’ and unavailable for comment. This is a tried and trusted Sinn Fein response to adverse publicity. Let’s get together and plot our reply, and if all else fails let’s suggest that our lives are in danger from the mythical ‘Orange Volunteers’.
    As for the tiresome twaddle that McArdle was “a political prisoner”. Her involvement in gunning down a young woman coming from Mass was no more an expression of ‘politics’ than Michael Stone’s recent incursion at Stormont was a manifestation of ‘art’.

  • slappymcgroundout


    What are you thoughts on Nelson Mandela? He was C in C of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress. Was his sabotage offense, for which he was convicted and incarcerated on Robben Island, a “political” offense?

    As I said to the one soul above, the turning point would have come for me when your law enforcement stepped aside to allow some others to beat the civil rights marchers into the one river/stream. As Mandela so aptly said:

    At the beginning of June 1961, after long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I and some colleagues came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe…

    That, by the way, is also the response to the SDLP crowd (the wrong and unrealistic crowd).

    Note beginning here, the two souls who you presumably recognize speaking to how they came to be involved in armed struggle:

    Gotta love Barr. Provocation from marching. Wonder if he thinks that way re his side’s marches.

    Now more to the point, gotta love Andy Tyrie as well, what with his, Although it’s hard for a Protestant to say but I think it was really the Protestants that brought forward the upsurge of the Provos at that time, by the actions they took…

    In response to the remainder of that particular comment, I’ll let you ask him what he means by “sit back and let the civil rights trample us down”. By the way, as concerns the other soul, I don’t recall anyone on the other side saying that they intended take away his family’s home. Reminds me, painfully so, of some folks here in the US back in the day. Something is fundamentally wrong with the thought process when equality for blacks and Irish Catholics means destruction of your way of life. Oh, and so you know, while the one incident would be the turning point, Bloody Sunday would have been the validation that the right decision had been made.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Sorry, I omitted the initial link with Barr:

  • Cynic2

    I absolutely agree. All media except An Phoblacht and the Andytown News should be banned

  • Lionel Hutz

    Oh yeah Slappy,

    Of course what you are saying implies the PIRA were murdering for civil rights? Can you provide any evidence of that. Because I thought all those murders were to kick the Brits and to get our “national self-determination”

    As ever with PIRA sympathisers and retrospective endorsers, they confuse the conditions which allowed for some support for PIRA, and the PIRA which killed for illegitimate goals

  • “as far as I heard from Ms Travers she didn’t even know about this until it was raised with her by the media”

    GK is quite correct. Wendy Austin had spoken to Ann Travers on BBC NI Talkback a few weeks ago so it was hardly surprising that the McArdle appointment should have led to a follow-up:

    Ann: “I was shocked to learn from your researcher what Sinn Fein have done by appointing Mary Ann McArdle in this position. I mean Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein tell us all that we must all move on from the past – you know, I’m not allowed to seek an apology from Sinn Fein because I’m told to move on because they can’t keep on apologising, they can’t apologise to individuals but they didn’t even have the decency to let us know that this woman who murdered, was involved in the murder of my sister and was convicted of the murder, has been given this position. … Mary Ann McArdle has never once attempted to apologise whether directly or indirectly for what she did ..”

  • Lionel,

    Self-determination is a right. The USA was founded fighting for that right, again against imperalist Britain.

  • sonofstrongbow

    No. The so-called ‘USA’ was founded on the genocide of the native peoples. A campaign that lasted until the late 1800s.

  • ayeYerMa

    So mehawind, Ulster Protestant/Unionist self-determination isn’t as “equal” as that of Irish Nationalists?

    Another case of the Orwellian nature of Sinn Fein’s so-called “equality” agenda. All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Lionel Hutz:

    Glad you asked. From a Provo in the 70s, well, he said this in the 70s:

    Look, there wouldn’t be any trouble or IRA if the Catholics hadn’t been denied civil rights. This is a civil rights war: what’s different is that we reckon we can only get these rights through national liberation, so it’s a national liberation war, the two go together.

  • “This is a civil rights war”

    Slappy, did the Army Council not explain the grand plan to him, the Cuban-style Nirvana?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sinn Fein have to stand firm on this appointment. Ex-prisoners can never be treated as second-class citizens and are as entitled to be appointed to public positions as anybody else.

    Henry, actually there are problems with this. People who volunteered to be in the IRA did so knowing what the consequences for their lives would be, namely anything up to and including imprisonment or death. Are you arguing that they are having trouble coping with the consequences of what they did ? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to them accepting that they regret their actions ?

    mehawind :

    Self-determination is a right. The USA was founded fighting for that right, again against imperalist Britain.

    You are referring here to the event that took place when a group of slave holders and property speculators decided they did not like the British because, among other things, they blocked the expansion of the fledgling US beyond the Appalachians, based on a prediction that turned out to be correct – that it would result in the systematic appropriation of land and livelihood from the natives ? You’re arguing that this was anti-imperialist ?

  • SDLP supporter


    Don’t know what age you are, but as someone with a reasonably respectable Civil Rights record, starting in Derry on 5 October 1968, it is wrong for you to equate the Civil Rights movement (CRM) with the ‘war of liberation’. In fact, a lot of the people who formed the nucleus of the Provos from 1970 onwards despised the CRM because they saw it as ‘reformist’ and explicitly not about destroying the six county statelet. Remember, the unanswerable civil rights call was @British rights for British citizens’.

    Hence, guys like Adams (20 in 1968) have no civil rights record to speak of..

    There also should be the equivalent of Godwin’s Law for those people who compare the situation in the North pre-1968 to apartheid South Africa. As Dorita Field, a very liberal South African (friend of Helen Suzman), who later became a Belfast SDLP councillor, would have testified the evils of apartheid far exceeded anything the unionist state could have dreamed up.

  • slappymcgroundout

    SDLP supporter:

    Sorry, but Gerry does have a civil rights record. Recall his membership in the group that opposed the building of Divis Flats. And some say that he was in NICRA.

    Next, Ms. Field left South Africa in 1946. So how much more did she really know about South Africa under apartheid than you and I, given that apartheid did not became official policy until two (2) years after she left in 1948? If she were still with us, perhaps she might otherwise explain whether the conduct of certain Afrikaners bore any resemblance to the conduct of the UFF folks who bombed her home. What was that all about? Considering that she was on record as being a non-nationalist, and was a Protestant, well, why would the UFF bomb her home? The Afrikaners tended not to bomb their own, even “race traitors”, as they usually simply “banned” them.

    Lastly, what do you mean by “unanswerable call?” You mean the same cry made by black Americans in this country for something like 70-80 years? American rights for American citizens? End of Reconstruction until early 60s wasn’t met by answer to unanswerable call but was instead the era of the black-face minstrel show, The Birth of a Nation, and Gone With The Wind. And some were against reform where you are on the premise that the state was irreformable. Here, even the late Mr. Ervine got that point:

    Lastly, sticking with “unanswerable call”, Gerry would say that you are naive. Courtesy of the Independent and Mr. Hari [9 Sept 09]:

    Over the next few years, Catholics in Northern Ireland – stirred by the black civil rights movement in the US, and the dream of Martin Luther King – started to peacefully organise to demand equality. Adams dropped out of school, working in a Protestant pub in the evenings, and campaigning for Catholic equality during the day. “There was a sense of naiveté, of innocence almost, a feeling that the demands we were making were so reasonable that all we had to do was kick up a row and the establishment would give in,” he says. But the civil rights marches were met with extraordinary ferocity. Protestant mobs attacked the demonstrators, and then the RUC swooped in to smash them up.

    Your use of “unanswerable” gave you away. A stick blow to the head at Burntollet was the answer to your unanswerable. Unanswerable only in the theoretical sense. The practical sense was stick, your head, and blood pouring down your face. And Gerry seems to know the score pretty well and the graffiti on the wall indeed proved correct, since the folks who refused to share power with you and the rest of the SDLP back in ’74 in the days of Sunningdale were driven into the arms of Sunningdale Part Deux owing the Armalites of the PIRA (well, the Armalites of the PIRA and the British whisper over the shoulder, sign on or else it’s Plan B and you really won’t like Plan B):

    “The IRA barely existed any more and those old gunmen who lingered had mostly run away. Indeed, many Catholics joked sourly after the attacks that the initials really stood for “I Ran Away”. Did Adams experience this as a humiliation, and a spur to rearm? “No, I didn’t have that feeling. Because I remember, actually, being one of the young people that resented the fact that other people who didn’t do anything were blaming the IRA. If you militarise a situation, you beg for an armed response. And then, after a short while, what had been a very passive and legitimate campaign for a very, very basic rights, then becomes ‘terrorism’. And then, the whole machine kicks in … Once the armies are in it, there will be a natural resistance. If there is an army occupying Britain tomorrow, there will be exactly the same response: people who would be passive normally, people who would be law-abiding normally, will fight back.” The graffiti at the time said: “God made the Catholics, but the Armalites made them equal.””

  • fordprefect

    Mary McArdle has been portrayed in the media as part of an “IRA gang” that shot Tom Travers and killed his daughter Mary. Fair enough. But, can anyone on here say with certainty that Ms McArdle actually knew who was going to be shot? As far as I am aware, she was asked to take guns away after a shooting. Is it possible that she thought it was a knee-capping or something similar? I am not for one second trying to excuse or legitimise the killing of Mary Travers, it was horrific, but maybe Mary McArdle was told to stand somewhere and take the guns away afterwards. I believe she was caught “red handed” as they say and she served 16 years in gaol for it. How long do you have to do in gaol before you are considered fit for work again? As for the mealy mouthed words of Kelly et al and about “threats” from the Orange Volunteers, I don’t believe a word of it, it was made up to try to deflect attention from Ms mcArdle.

  • Fordprefect, Derryvolgie Avenue was not noted as a venue for knee-capping down the years. It is inevitable that Mary McArdle knew she was part of a carefully planned and organised murder consiprary. Her role was crucial, as gunmen always need to dispose of their weapons as swiftly as possible after a paramilitary shooting. She agreed to turn up at the scene, wearing a heavy coat and surgical stockings to conceal the guns. She was even provided with a small dog as an excuse to be walking in the area. It is a fair point that she served over 14 years as a result, which is longer than many others convicted in similar circumstances, but she knew what she was doing and would have been well aware of the consequences. She was obviously not the only ex-prisoner to serve as a special adviser at Stormont, but her case was very much under scrutiny barely a month before her appointment. Placing her in the post so siwftly looked as though a firm message was being sent out, and the Travers family are fully entitled to believe that it was aimed at them. That’s one of the main reasons this issue has received so much attention.

  • fordprefect

    Oldhack, Fair enough about what you are saying, but, were you part of the team that shot Mary? I wasn’t, but you are just going along with the media.. I know Derryvolgie Ave. wasn’t a place where people were “kneecapped”, but you still haven’t answered my question: did she actually know what was going down that day? Kneecapping and so on was left to areas that I live in, i.e. no one gives a F***.

  • I’m not saying America was perfect, far from it! I was just speaking in reference to Lionel’s point of civil rights vs. self-determination that they’re not mutually exclusive.