I have watched and listened with interest to the ongoing controversy around the Sinn Féin Special Advisor, Mary McCardle and the understandable hurt felt by the Travers family. While sympathising with the Travers family and trying to be as sensitive as possible I would like to ask a few questions of the media.
Why did the media choose to put this particular appointment in the public domain? I would suggest that this is not the first time that such an appointment has been made. The Travers family would probably never have known about this appointment if it were not for a journalist who decided to search out Mary Travers sister to get her reaction.
I believe this story had nothing to do with justice, accountability or even of the public interest, but how many papers it could sell or how many viewers or listeners it would attract. I do not make these observations to excuse or justify the actions of those who carried out the killing of Mary Travers but to highlight the hypocrisy and one-sided agenda of sections of the media. I just don’t believe that it is done out of any particular sympathy for the Travers family.
If it is to help the families of victims, why do we not have the same media clamour for the resignations of the many Lee Clegg’s of this world who was found guilty of shooting a young girl in the back. Not only was he secretly released after serving only a derisory two or three years of his sentence, but he was welcomed with open arms back into the British Army, promoted and put in charge of training other state killers who were then sent to hone their skills in Irag and Afghanistan. Or how about a media campaign demanding that General Jackson come on every radio and TV show and give interviews to every newspaper apologising to the people of Derry for murdering fourteen innocent, unarmed civilians While like most people I have been touched by the story of Mary Travers, I would urge the media to show a little sensitivity to the hundreds of other families out there who are also grieving and looking for answers and to remember that they are not all victims of the IRA.