“While it may be described as being a mistake, she was shot in the back”

Reports of ‘loyalist threats’ didn’t stem the criticism, now Sinn Féin’s Mary McArdle, special adviser to the Northern Ireland Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chilín, has broken her silence over her controversial appointment.  In the Andersonstown News…

Mary McArdle was convicted and jailed for her involvement in the Provisional IRA murder of 23-year-old teacher, Mary Travers, who had been working at Holy Child Primary School in Andersonstown, west Belfast, and the attempted murder of Mary Travers’ father, Catholic magistrate Tom Travers, as they left mass at St Brigid’s Church in 1984.  The gunmen were never brought to justice.

The BBC reports

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.”

The Belfast Telgraph has the quote, and Mary Travers’ sister, Ann Travers’ response

“I want to state clearly that the killing of Mary Travers was a tragic mistake and I regret that it happened,” [Mary McArdle] said in the Andersonstown News.

But Ann Travers accused the republican of showing no respect to victims.

“While it may be described as being a mistake, she was shot in the back,” she said.

“There were two gunman, one standing over Dad, shooting Dad, and the other one shot my sister in the back and attempted to murder my mother, held the gun up to my mother, my mother’s head, but the bullets jammed in the gun.”

She told the BBC: “Rather than Mary McArdle and Sinn Fein saying my sister’s death was a mistake, what they should be saying is Mary Travers’ death and murder is an embarrassment now to us and has come back to haunt us.”