Friday 20 April 2018

Sinn Fein shows no surrender to any human feeling

The controversial appointment of Mary McArdle as special adviser added insult to injury, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

ONE of the more irritating myths about women is that they're like Care Bears with ovaries, whose presence would immediately make politics more nurturing, more consensual. The reality can be strikingly different.

Take Mary McArdle, who's just been given the job of special adviser to the Northern Ireland minister for arts and leisure, thereby striking a stunning blow for ambitious, independent women everywhere -- though it might've been a better contribution to women's rights had she not also chosen, in 1984, to take part in the brutal IRA murder of a young primary school teacher, Mary Travers, as she walked from Mass with her magistrate father in Belfast's leafy Malone Road district.

Mary McArdle didn't actually pull the trigger that day, but was caught 10 minutes later with two handguns and a wig hidden in her surgical stockings. She was walking a dog. Strange how the little banal details stick in the mind. McArdle was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder; she was released following the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

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