Was the death of Mary Travers murder?

Judge Tom Travers and his daughter Mary
Consider three situations. In the first, I take my recently-serviced car out, the brakes inexplicably fail, I hit your teenage daughter and kill her. In the second, I take my car out and, while busy changing radio stations, I hit your teenage daughter and kill her. In the third, I take my car out, search for your daughter, deliberately hit her with my car and kill her. 
You don’t have to be Thomas Aquinas to see that while the grief of family will be terrible in all three cases,  the morality in each case differs. In the first,  there is no guilt involved, since I didn’t intend to kill your daughter. In the second there’s some guilt, since I drove carelessly and that resulted in your daughter’s death. In the third case, I am totally guilty – I set out with the intention of killing your daughter and that’s what I did.
Which of these categories does the killing of Mary Travers fit into?  She died from a single shot during an IRA attack on her father in 1984. Tom Travers, a judge at the time, was shot six times but survived.
It’s clear that the IRA attack was aimed at Judge Travers, not his daughter. In other words, the IRA was guilty of deliberately trying to kill Judge Travers but not guilty of trying to kill his daughter.  A reasonable case could be made, then,  for placing the paramilitaries in the second category, guilt through carelessness , in terms of Mary Travers’s death. But since the intention was to kill the judge and not his daughter,  IRA guilt in terms of her death is at worst that of the reckless driver.
None of these distinctions was evident either on the front page of the Venerable Organ or on RTÉ’s ‘Liveline’ programme with Joe Duffy yesterday.  The grief and anger of Mary Travers’s sister Ann were palpable and understandable, but no effort was made to examine whether Mary’s death was intentional or not.  Why not?  Well, we’re immediately in the twilight world of conjecture. Certainly neither the VO nor Joe Duffy could be described as champions of republicanism; equally certainly the references to Sinn Féin having a ‘murderer’ working for them  – one of the people involved in the attack on Judge Travers 25 years ago –  were calculated to damage that party. 
I could go on and consider whether ex-paramilitary prisoners should be employed at Stormont, or at what level, or whether they should be given a job at all, anywhere; but that’s work for another day.  For now my point is a simple one. The event on which the controversy rests – Mary Travers’s killing – has been presented in a way that takes for granted the maximum guilt of those involved in her death. That has skewed any rational discussion of who Sinn Féin or any other political party may employ.  That’s shameful and dangerous.

62 Responses to Was the death of Mary Travers murder?

  1. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Good old Jude.Sinn Fein can always rely on you to argue their case no matter how indefensible.I presume you will be ringing Talkback or Liveline to vent your spleen.

  2. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for the contribution, Anon – but what about addressing the issue rather than jeering? I’d welcome your views.

  3. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I think the doctrine of transferred malice would apply..?

  4. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Interesting. Do elaborate, Anon…

  5. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    In order to convict the prosecution have to show that the accused not only did the act but intended or was reckless…
    The doctrine of transferred malice can apply where the accused intended to kill A but bullet kills B…in crude terms ‘Intent follows the bullet’…but only when the crimes are of the same type…i.e. to cause injury
    If the bullet ricocheted and caused a different kind of harm e.g. criminal damage the doctrine would not apply…
    That’s it at it’s most basic but probably what the Court relied on to secure a conviction of murder…

  6. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Thanks Anon – my store of knowledge is expanded. Mind you, I was talking about morality, not the law. Two different things frequently.

  7. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Oh OK…maybe the ‘discussion’ as opposed to character assassination can continue as you intended ‘referencing’ quote/unquote(!) the legal doctrine…Can ‘malice’ be transferred…?

  8. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Having done a little bit of checking, Anon – I’m no lawyer, that’s for sure – the doctrine of tm seems to be shaky even in law. But frankly I’m not interested in the law in this case or whether the convictions were reasonable or valid. I’m concerned with the morality involved. The Catholic Church for example has the doctrine of, what is it, second effect? Where if you perform an action with the intention of Effect A, and as a consequence Effect B occurs, you can’t be said to have willed B and are therefore without sin. I’ve always believed that. To be held responsible for something I should will it as well as be the source of its happening. If a doctor taps my knee with his hammer and as a result I kick him in the teeth, that’s not willed by me so he can forget about suing me.

  9. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    If you go out with murderous intent and you kill someone albeit not the intended target then offence is made out…in law
    As far as I know the basic doctrine is still good law however as you say it raises many issues and no doubt more argument whenever it is relied upon…
    The example you give would be involuntary or accident therefore you could not liable in law as the prosecution would not be able to prove an essential element of the offence i.e.’intention’ which is not to say they might not give it a run…!
    The law determines what is a defence whatever the the offender may ‘believe’…
    I know that’s not primarily what you are interested in but this is probably the point at which Law and Ethics converge…
    I’m no theologist theosophist or even philosophist…I suppose you could say I’m not an ‘Ethics girl’…wahhh!
    Hours spent as a Ist year Philosophy undergraduate discussing burning issues such as whether the refracted image of a pencil in a glass of water was the same as the original object submerged in the glass…was enough to convince me that abstract concepts are not my forte…
    That and the fact that my tutor… who was actually called Edmund Burke…and looked as if he had been exhumed..he had a kind of luminous green tinge…
    They really need to get out more…

  10. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Hahahahaaaaaaaa. Have you considered an alternative career onstage, Anon? Or maybe you already do the circuit?…

  11. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    What a load of claptrap. To adopt your trite analogy what occurred is that you drove the car at me with the intention of running me down and in so doing you hit and killed my teenage daughter. Now perhaps you would consider the morality of your role in the death (I’ll call it murder) of my daughter. Oh and when you are considering the morality of such an action, don’t forget that I was unarmed and I and my teenage daughter were in a crowd leaving Mass.

    Your reply is awaited.


  12. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Can someone please murder me? Cos I don’t want to live in a world with cunts like Jude Collins in it.

  13. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    You may well laugh Mr Collins…but it is all true…unless of course you’re being funny in the alternative sense…!
    However if I have managed to amuse then that is a bonus…
    I just see the absurdity of things…which is not to say I cannot be serious when I need to be…
    But a career change yes…that is something I am considering…they say lawyers are frustrated actors and the court is a theatre of sorts…and a great source of material…

  14. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Anon – I don’t think I’ve ever suggested the IRA weren’t intent on killing Judge Travers. What I was attempting to do was distinguish between intentional killing of another person and unintentional killing. It would appear I haven’t been totally successful. I’m sorry.

    Abusive Anon – I’m sorry in your case as well. Even sorrier, probably.

  15. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    But it wasn’t a car the IRA were driving. In fact they were not driving. I don’t get it.

  16. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill May 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    A good article Jude. I think that is one of the difficulties – the lack of a desire on the part of the media to understand, investigate and clarify what went on in the North. They go for sound bites and one-diminensional stereotypes – all to fit their black and white view of the world.

  17. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    It’s only a few days since you were complaining no cops will be tried for the murder of Rosemary Nelson. They didn’t plant the bomb though, did they? Your double standards are showing.

  18. AM May 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm #


    don’t see how you can win this one. Transfer of malice is an old concept used to secure murder convictions against IRA activists who killed people unintentionally in crossfire while trying to kill members of the Brit forces. If the Mary Travers killing was not murder then it is for different reasons than those you put forward. IRA activists prosecuting a campaign have always made the case that their actions were not criminal and by extension, while lethal, not murderous. I think you have left yourself on weak ground as the distinction you make fails to establish the gap you wish it to.

    That said, there is no reason to exclude Mary McAardle from a job that could not also be applied to any former prisoner with a similar conviction. And that would rule out a lot of people. Ex prisoner groups whether they agree with her politics or not should defend her right to be selected otherwise we will play a game of hide the former prisoner and resort to stigmatising them. That is supposed to be behind us.

  19. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    The doctrine of transferred malice goes back to the mid 16C…as far as I know it is still in force and is not one of the legal concepts identified for removal by the Con Dems…?
    Without doing research I’m not sure if it has been invoked in UK since HRA…
    Last reported case seems to be 1986
    Do you know how many times it has been invoked in NI and when it was last relied on?

  20. AM May 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm #


    I am not sure of the stats. I guess it applied in the Shankill bombing case which post dates the 1986 one you mention. The republicans went in to kill UDA members but got only civilians.

    I remember it from a 1973 incident which led to an 1977 conviction. The victim was a guy called John Lundy (if memory has not been completely ravished) and he was hit when IRA people opened fire on British soldiers in East Belfast. They got life. I sort of put the case Jude did to them, that they didn’t mean to kill Lundy, but they told me it didn’t matter: intent to kill being deflected and malice being transferred negated any defence. Can’t see the moral distinction Jude makes. If a British soldier tries to ‘murder’ an unarmed IRA activist but kills a child instead the child is no less the victim of murder.

  21. AM May 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm #


    I think you misrepresent the Catholic position. Set aside this particular case. Catholic teaching was hardly making the case in relation to murderous intent. If A wages murderous intent against B but kills C then C is the victim of murderous intent even if through transfer. I think you will be hard pressed to find that challenged in Catholic moral teaching.

  22. Jude Collins May 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Thanks to all for contributions – even the abusive one…The discussion seems to have moved from morality to law – probably my fault for my headline in the first place. Apologies.

  23. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Jude wrote; `It’s clear that the IRA attack was aimed at Judge Travers, not his daughter. In other words, the IRA was guilty of deliberately trying to kill Judge Travers but not guilty of trying to kill his daughter.’

    A little research might have been in order here. Evidence was given at the trial that two gunmen approached Mr Travers, who was a magistrate and not a judge, as he left the church with his family. One man fired a number of shots at him, and, when Mary Travers not surprisingly moved towards her father, the second man shot her in the back.

    Jude managed to conclude that it was `clear’ the IRA attack was aimed at Mr Travers and not his daughter. It is at least equally likely that the IRA intended to kill Mr Travers and anyone who got in their way – which included, as events turned out, his daughter. In the eyes of the law, and what might be called right-thinking people, that is called murder.

  24. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    I had believed Tom Elliot’s remarks concerning SF supporters to have been ill=judged.

    On reading articles such as this I now feel he may have had a point.

  25. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    You say you are concerned with the morality involved here and quote Catholic doctrines.What would the Catholic doctrine be on those who would embark on a mission to kill or attempt to kill a magistrate.Surely that would be wrong and immoral.

  26. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Using the car anthology is just wrong. The comparison is not even relevant. The FACT is that ‘someone’ set out to kill ‘someone else’. They were carrying a GUN. In the car story there was never an intention except in the third scenario so Jude your smoke and cloak and dagger efforts to sew seeds of doubt fail drastically. A gun is a weapon designed for one purpose and someone carrying a gun knows its purpose. You have ommitted the ‘intention’ in your cute little story so sorry, bad shot, wrong person etc. regardless, it was plain and simple murder.

  27. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Let’s be honest here. You give the impression of being a nice enough aul fella, but beneath the affable exterior, we find an evil old cunt spewing out Goebbels-esque propaganda in an attempt to justify the cold-blooded murder of fellow citizens outside their place of worship.

    Shame on you, you sad excuse for a human being.

  28. Jude Collins May 27, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Well I think the contribution immediately preceding this one shows this topic has run out of rational steam. Thanks again, all.

  29. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I apologise for running foul of Godwin’s Law with my Goebbels comment.

    ‘Squealer’ from Animal Farm would have been a far more apt comparison.

    Few outside your bizarre Republican alternative universe would see you as being in any way rational btw.

  30. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill May 27, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Ultimately, people in this society have to decide are all people in this society going to be treated equally or are some going to continue to be discriminated against in jobs, access to pensions, mortgages, insurance, access to education courses, and travel. The extreme irony is that the majority nationalist party in the North, the Deputy First Minister and many elected representatives are former republican prisoners. Former republican prisoners are respected in their communities not just because they stood up for them when times were bad but because they stand up for them now. And indeed if it wasn’t for republican activists at all levels including in the IRA, would we have experienced the enormous political change we have seen to date in this state let? Certainly former prisoners, (along with republican activists who weren’t captured!) were crucial in promoting and developing the peace process as they were crucial in opposing the Occupation and Unionist domination. That is not to deny that many people suffered in the conflict. But the conflict involved more than former republican prisoners. It also involved an oppressive state with its official and unofficial forces. Are people seriously saying that one side in that conflict should be discriminated against while another side is rewarded not just with the privileges of the protection of equality law, but with a privileged access to jobs, pensions, medals and golden handshakes? Do people seriously believe that that will build a sustainable peace into the future? It is ironic that the attacks on Mary McArdle in the media North and South followed a week of obsequious bowing and curtseying and adoration to the Heads of State of two of the biggest warmongering states on the planet, states, which have killed far more innocent people worldwide than the IRA ever killed and who continue to kill, not just with impunity but with pride. Many people in this society have open sores which will never heal. Many people will never have closure. That is a tragedy neither I nor the vast majority of former republican want to see happen again. But is it possible to build a sustainable peace by denying full citizenship to a minority on one side of that conflict?

  31. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    What a waste of words.

    People object to Mary McArdle, not because she is a Republican, or even a Republican prisoner, but because she committed murder, and murder is wrong.

    In all your talk of ‘rights’ where do the ‘rights’ of Mary Travers come into this? How about the right to attend a place of worship without being shot by crazed fanatics? The most important right is the right to life, and as Ms McArdle has cruelly and unecessarily deprived another of this right, it is only reasonable that some of her rights be forfeited.

  32. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Jude is entitled to his opinion, however vile. The problem is that his opinion on the definition of murder, let alone culpability and justification, changes day by day depending upon the victim. On Monday, Rosemary Nelson was “murdered” by police officers and officials through hostile negligence alone. On Thursday, Mary Travers wasn’t even “murdered” by the person who shot her.
    This is the equivocation of an apologist. Sad – ‘shameful’, even.

  33. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    I think you may be the victim of transferred malice here…!

  34. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill May 27, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Whether we like it or it not we live in a state which was created by murder and sustained by murder – whether you want to view that in terms of 800 years, 300 years or 90 years of history. In my view the IRA and others opposed violence with violence. You may disagree. That is your right. No doubt many people will never forgive or forget the IRA. But neither will many people be able to forgive or forget the activities of British and Unionist forces who were on the other side of the coin. We can either choose to continue this conflict through discrimination, abuse, marginalisation or we can recognise that there are people living in this place who disagree, who have different views on the past, different views on what was or was not murder, different views on what was the justifiable use of violence and what was not. We can do things to try and ease the burden of those left behind when loved ones were taken from them. We can for example, develop truth telling mechanisms, admit to past mistakes and accept responsibility for actions. For my part I think that republicans have gone a long way in this regard (something that sadly I cannot say in relation to the British and Unionist political establishments). I don’t believe that this will heal open wounds or bring about closure on either side. However, it might help. Either way this society has big decisions to make. Does it want an imperfect peace with opportunities for change, or does it not?

  35. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Jude, as you said yourself, you’re no lawyer. Your post is so inaccurate as to be actually offensive.

  36. qcirish May 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Abusive Anon: It’s very difficult to take anything you say seriously when you practice attacks on the writer instead of his words.
    As a citizen of one of the 2 largest warmongering nations (though admittedly NOT proud of that) I am not familiar with how murder is charged in the UK. In America, there are different levels of charges that can be used based on intent. Murder one for example is Jude’s car 3. There are other levels such as Manslaughter, which I think addresses Jude’s second car. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t address the specifics. But I was gathering from the discussion that there isn’t anything like that, or am I wrong here?

  37. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    The venom vented at the author of this post reminds me of Brendan Behan’s witheringly witty response in similar circumstances..’The compliments fly when the quality meet…’

    I could tell you but we’d have to agree a big fat fee first…! I’ll get my people to talk to your people…!Only codding 😉

  38. Billy Pilgrim May 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm #


    I think you’re being dishonest. You say you’re trying to look at this morally, rather than legally. However, while it might be possible to concoct a legalistic argument in which it isn’t murder, in the strictest sense, the morality of the thing is surely pretty clear.

    But I’m happy to discuss the incident in terms of morality rather than law. It’s clear that judge Travers was the intended target of the assassination. We can probably assume it was not the intention to kill anyone else, but we can also confidently conclude that the IRA team had no compunction about shooting others, if they felt the need should arise. That, of course, is exactly what happened.

    I honestly can’t see a meaningful moral distinction between setting out to kill a bunch of innocent people, and setting out to kill one person (whom you believe to be a legitimate target) but having no compunction about potentially killing a bunch of innocent people in the process.

    A more respectable killing apparatus would call it “collateral damage,” of course. I always thought the concept to be the height of depravity, to be honest, as depraved of the IRA in 1984 as it is of British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

  39. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Just been debating this point on SluggerOToole, your article should have mentioned that according to Mr Travers testimony there was also an attmept to kill his wife – the gun jamming 6 times – this suggests intention(at that point, by that IRA man) and clearly impacts on the opinion of the intention(at that point, by that or another IRA man) to kill his daughter.


  40. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    920,000 people dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; 1.7 million injured. Curious to know if those so outraged by Mary McArdle’s actions are equally outraged by the actions of British soldiers today and whether they’ll be opposing jingoistic homecoming marches lionising mass butchery?

  41. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Jude ,I appreciate its your blogspace but why the reluctance to engage with the many recent posts.You are normally fairly combative in replying to those who disagree in some measure with your views.Perhaps you prefer the content of Feilim who if memory serves me right is not exactly a disinterested observer.If some people in your words get ” hot and bothered” perhaps its because they resent some veneer of morality being attached to I R A murders.

  42. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    “920,000 people dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; 1.7 million injured. Curious to know if those so outraged by Mary McArdle’s actions are equally outraged by the actions of British soldiers today and whether they’ll be opposing jingoistic homecoming marches lionising mass butchery?”

    How does this in any way justify the cold blooded murder and attempted murder of a Catholic family attending mass?

  43. Jude Collins May 28, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Anon 28 May 2011 00:00 – Oh dear. You’ve drawn me in again. My reluctance to engage is because I’ve spilled more virtual ink on this than anyone, given the original blog and my comments since. I’m more than happy to defend my position but I’d also like to think and talk and write about other things as well. To repeat, then: I firmly believe that morality links to intention. For example, a madman or woman can’t be guilty of evil because they aren’t in control of their actions and so can’t have intentions. (I’m tempted to add that this raises questions about the morality of paedophiles who, we’re told, are hopelessly recidivist – they can’t help coming back and doing the same ghastly things – but I’ll not.) If I intend to mow you down in my car, I bear full responsibility for what I’ve done and it’s usually termed murder. Same applies if I get my gun, seek you out and kill you. (Second slight diversion: killing people in war is rarely referred to as murder. So if you don’t see the thirty years of conflict here as a war, then naturally you’d see paramilitary [and maybe RUC/UDR/British Army?] killings as murder. ) If I don’t plan to hit you with my car/shoot you but kill you accidentally, I bear no moral responsibility. Some of the people who’ve contributed believe the IRA did intend to kill Mary Travers. If so, they bear moral responsibility for her death. If you believe they didn’t intend to kill her, they bear at worst a lesser responsibility (the greater or lesser depending on whether you see the IRA campaign as sustained murders over a 30-year period or a guerrilla campaign for national freedom). I suspect that nothing will change the belief of those who believe Mary Travers was killed deliberately. I could be wrong – as could they – but I don’t share their view. But my essential point remains: you’re morally responsible only for actions you deliberately perform and are in a position to control [cf my kicking the doctor in the teeth]…OK. Nuff said.

  44. Jude Collins May 28, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    PS. The Travers family attending Mass has NO relevance to the morality of the killing – obviously, I should have thought.

  45. Anonymous May 28, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Jude, your original post was entirely based on your claim that it was `clear’ the IRA attack was aimed at Mr Travers and not his daughter. You stated as a fact; `…the IRA was guilty of deliberately trying to kill Judge Travers but not guilty of trying to kill his daughter.’

    You now know that Mr Travers was a magistrate, not a judge, his daughter was shot in the back as she went to his assistance and only a jammed gun saved the life of his wife at the same moment.

    As a result, you have accepted that your conclusions `could be wrong’. That might be progess, but it would be fascinating to find out if you considered any of the evidence from the court reports before providing your remarkably benign interpretation of what happened.


  46. Anonymous May 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    “PS. The Travers family attending Mass has NO relevance to the morality of the killing – obviously, I should have thought.”

    So killing and/or attempting to kill a family returning from mass is OK as far as you’re concerned. (If the murderers are Irish Republicans, rather than members of the security forces or loyalists, of course).

    As I stated earlier, you are an evil old cunt.

  47. Jude Collins May 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Thank you for your opinion, Anonymous. All views are welcome.

  48. Anonymous May 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm #


    The previous contributor aimed a mouthful of abuse at you, and got an immediate acknowledgement. I attempted to put what I hope was a serious and rational question, based on your own post, so hopefully I might also get a response.


  49. Anonymous May 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    “The previous contributor aimed a mouthful of abuse at you, and got an immediate acknowledgement. I attempted to put what I hope was a serious and rational question, based on your own post, so hopefully I might also get a response.”

    Kevin, in what way was the ‘mouthful of abuse’ not justified? In so far as anything can be described as ‘evil’, gunning down a family as they attend mass falls into this category. And this is what Jude is unapologetically attempting to justify.

  50. Anonymous May 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm #


    We can all call each other names, and we may or may not be justified in doing so. What I was trying to do was establish the level of research which Jude carried out before entering a very sensitive debate. I’m sure he will tell us.


  51. Anonymous May 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm #


    You warned about making asumptions, and wrote that taking for granted a key aspect of the circumstances surrounding the killing of Mary Travers had `skewed any rational discussion’ and was `shameful and dangerous’. The indications are that you have fallen into the same trap yourself by commenting on what happened without checking the evidence which was given to the court. Either you researched the background before intervening or you didn’t. It is reasonable to expect that you will clarify the matter.


  52. Anonymous May 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Jude, at least someone has the courage to challenge the moral duplicity of those who are outraged by IRA killings far in excess of what they would be when it comes to the killings in Iraq and Afghanistan today. This is the depravity of the world we live in; grown men apoplectic about something that happened thirty years ago by accident but ambivalent about what happens today by design. Shame on them.

  53. Anonymous May 30, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    “Jude, at least someone has the courage to challenge the moral duplicity of those who are outraged by IRA killings far in excess of what they would be when it comes to the killings in Iraq and Afghanistan today. This is the depravity of the world we live in; grown men apoplectic about something that happened thirty years ago by accident but ambivalent about what happens today by design. Shame on them.”

    How do deaths in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan either explain or excuse an unprovoked attack on a Catholic family attending mass in Belfast?

    Btw, the Travers family did not suffer a muderous attack ‘by accident’ as you suggest – it was premeditated murder.

    Jesus, as an apologist for murder could you not have contributed more than these sad cliches?

  54. Anonymous May 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Jude made some interesting points in his thread on the Shankill Butchers:

    “1. The Shankill Butchers were terrorists. That might seem obvious when the word is used so frequently about people actively involved in what was a small-scale war during the time of the Troubles, but it helps to use words that are accurate. Some dictionaries will tell you that terrorism is the use of organised violence to secure political ends. That’s no use: all wars use organised violence to secure political ends. Other dictionaries talk about “an organised system of intimidation”: that’s nearer the mark. The defining characteristic of terrorism is that it deliberately attacks the civilian population in the hope that this will turn that population towards peace and/or surrender. By this description the Shankill Butchers were terrorists. They attacked, not the IRA or the INLA, but ordinary Belfast Catholics. The programme contended that they wanted to frighten the nationalist population into turning against the IRA and suing for peace under any terms.

    Both Mary Travers and her father were civilians. Neither were members of the B.A., RUC, UDR, UVF or the UDA. Both were Belfast Catholics.

    Does this mean those who attacked them were ‘terrorists’, according to your definition?

  55. Anonymous May 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    “2. The Shankill Butchers were cowards. As Nolan’s programme reminded us, every single one of their victims was isolated and defenceless, in a number of cases a bit drunk as well, and the Butchers always acted as a group when they abducted them. So several men against a single individual, late at night, with the victim as helpless as could be imagined. Cowardice personified.”

    Is gunning down a defenceless family outside their place of worship ‘brave’?

  56. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    This attempt to use the analogy of the Iraq experience as in some way justifying the butchering on a Belfast side street of a 22-year-old woman by cowards is illuminating. There are deaths in Iraq every day. Generally these deaths are the murders of Iraqi citizens by fellow Iraqis, Pashtu Pakistanis or misguided souls from other regions engaged in a holy ‘jihad’. After the suicide bomber detonates his belt the responsibility for the deaths of those whose limbs lie scattered around, according to the provo apologists, remains firmly with the US and British forces. The person who detonated the bomb is not to blame in the same way that those who shot and killed poor Mary Travers are not really to blame for her death. The real fault lies within the context of the crown forces being somehow responsible. These Jesuitical mental gymnastics make one heartily sick.

    As for bravery… At least the suicide bomber shows some courage even if it is more than likely a form of psychosis or religious mania. The provos who shot Mary Travers in the back as she cowered on the pavement are hardly brave…

    S O’N

  57. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    “Was the death of Mary Travers murder?” You ask.

    Simple answer. Yes.

    Stop trying to put it into a context to suit your political agenda. All this talk and posturing is irrelvant.

    And what in God’s name has this to do with possibly illegal wars being fought elsewhere? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The families of the dead deserve more respect.

  58. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Jude sorry to speak so plainly but you sir are a contemptible old fool.

  59. Anonymous June 3, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    There is, of course, a fourth situation to consider. Tom Travers testified that the gun pointed at his wife’s head jammed twice.

    So in the fourth situation, I fuel my car with petrol, drive it at a innocent and defenceless woman with the express intention of killing her and suddenly the engine stalls. Does that make me any less of psychopath? Is my intention still to murder? Am I a contemptible excuse for a human being? The answer to all these questions seems to be to yes.

    S O’N

  60. Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    (“Was the death of Mary Travers murder?” You ask.

    Simple answer. Yes.

    Stop trying to put it into a context to suit your political agenda. All this talk and posturing is irrelevant.)

    Totally agree with this.

    Jude, there is no justification for an act like this, you can contextualise it any way you want, but, let’s look at the facts of the day..

    Mary McArdle and her accomplice waited outside mass to kill Tom Travers, shot him 6 times and failed, at some point either before or during, decided to kill the daughters, shot Mary with a single fatal shot and attempted to kill Ann. Now, for an educated man to try and compare this to a hit and run with varying levels of guilt is idiotic.

    What is in question here are the acts of Sinn Fein. I have no problem with the rehabilitation of prisoners, but, you can’t put convicted criminals in Stormont any more than you can put a convicted sex offender in a primary school or a thief in a bank. Walking into a 60-100k a year job after serving 14 years of a life sentence for murder is a tad over the top, that’s not rehab, put her in the social security office, no problems there, a bit of clerical work, at least she’s on par with the broad spectrum of society in terms of pay. As it stands, she’s in an amazing position right now for a woman with her past.

    Politics in this country is, as always, a joke. Criminals employing criminals, Carol Cullen herself served 8 years for explosives charges.

    Anyway, on a final note, the bottom line here is, in terms of rehabilitation, her position is unnecessary and excessive, In terms of this furthering the peace process, it has done nothing but rekindle emotions and be disrespectful to the Travers family, and in terms of support for Sinn Fein has shown them to be nothing more than a political party of disrespectful, unremorseful, hypocritical murderers supporting murderers.

  61. Anonymous December 9, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    Of course they meant to kill her. They tried to kill the whole family but one of the guns failed.

  62. Ann Travers January 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi Jude, I am horrified at the “scenario” you painted regarding my sisters murder. The HET found that the IRA gang went out that day to murder as many of the Travers family as possible. Many words can be used to describe the loss of my sisters life. Murder, kill. Death. They all mean she was stolen from us. Who had
    the right to do this? Can you tell me’ Jude?
    I don’t have a problem with Mary McArdle
    working, I do have a problem with her job and
    her life being rubbed in my face. Mary ‘s right to work was stolen from her along with her right to work, be a mother etc. I am well aware many were hurt during the “troubles”,this doesn’t justify the murder of my sister or the attempted murder of my mum and dad. Ann