Ann Travers told by HET that the IRA planned to wipe out her entire family in 1984

Ann Travers told by HET that the IRA planned to wipe out her entire family in 1984

‘WAKING The Dead’ detectives have told Ann Travers that the IRA deliberately murdered her sister Mary.

And a report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) concluded that the IRA had intended to wipe out her entire family.

Mary Travers was shot dead by the IRA in south Belfast in 1984 by an IRA gun gang who lay in wait for them outside a Catholic Church.

The Catholic schoolteacher was targeted as she walked out of Sunday Mass with her father, resident magistrate Tom Travers.

One of those convicted for her role in the murder was Mary McArdle who helped remove guns from the scene.

Ms McArdle was sentenced to a life term for the murder and was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Ann Travers said: “As dad, mum and Mary were coming out of mass on the day of the shooting, Mary turned around to shout: ‘Daddy, that man has a gun’.

“The gunman was just on the other side of the road and shot her in the back as she turned around. Mary was not standing between the gunman and dad.

“Mum caught Mary in her arms and they fell together.

“Then the gunman crossed the road and put the gun to mum’s head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun jammed.

“Dad was being shot by another gunman at the same time, but obviously the first gunman had targeted Mary and mum deliberately.

Tom Travers and murdered school teacher daughter Mary

Tom Travers and murdered school teacher daughter Mary

“HET said the gunmen had been there and armed the previous Sunday but for some reason called the attack off.”

According to the News Letter, the HET report says that the IRA stated that Resident Magistrate Thomas Travers had been the target and Mary was shot “by accident”.

HET concluded: “This is contrary to the facts… the actual attack on the day did not make any distinction and the attackers wanted to kill all the Travers family.”

One of the gunmen was believed to have been north Belfast IRA man Joe ‘The Hawk’ Haughey.

It later transpired that ‘The Hawk’ was working as an RUC Special Branch informant at the time of the murders.

Ann Travers rose to public prominence two years ago after the appointment of Mary McArdle to role as special advisor (SPAD) to Sinn Fein Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin.

As a result, TUV leader Jim Allister has proposed the SPADs bill which would stop anyone with a serious criminal conviction of five years or more being appointed as a SPAD.

A political storm erupted last week after the SDLP said it would support a Sinn Fein Petition of Concern to stop the bill becoming law.

But following a meeting with the SDLP hierarchy, the party announced on Tuesday that it would not block the bill.

Ann Travers said she “was happy” the SDLP’s change of heart.

The bill will have its final reading in the Assembly on Monday, June 3.



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