TUV leader Jim Allister say's SPADs bill should be called 'Ann's Law' after Ann Travers

TUV leader Jim Allister say’s SPADs bill should be called ‘Ann’s Law’ after Ann Travers

ROYAL Assent has been granted to legislation that would bar anyone with a serious conviction from being a special political adviser (SPAD) at Stormont. 

The new law means that no-one can be appointed as a special adviser who has a serious criminal conviction.

The bill was put forward by the TUV leader Jim Allister after Sinn Féin appointed Mary McArdle as a special adviser who had been convicted of her role in the murder of Mary Travers.

Her sister Ann Travers launched a campaign that led to the bill coming before the Assembly.

Ms McArdle was later moved from her post as an adviser to Culture Minister Carál Ni Chuilin.

Under the legislation, special advisers who have been sentenced to more than five years in prison are allowed to appeal.

This process gives victims a say and requires the former prisoner to show contrition and assist police in solving their crime.

The new law means Sinn Feín adviser Paul Kavanagh is set to lose his job.

He served 14 years in prison for killing three people in an IRA bombing campaign in England in 1981 and currently advises Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Paul Kavanagh has three weeks to activate the appeal mechanism to an independent panel on specified grounds. Otherwise he automatically loses his position two months after Royal Assent.

TUV leader Jim Allister who brought the bill said: “Getting to this point is most satisfying, not least because of the great sense of justice it has brought to innocent victims, who so often seem forgotten in a system where victim-makers were feted and promoted because they were victim-makers.

“But for the courage and tenacity of Ann Travers this great wrong would never have been righted.”


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