Mother of IRA murder victim Mary Travers dies

Joan Travers, who passed away on Friday, pictured with son Hugh at the funeral of husband Tom in 2009. Her 22-year-old daughter Mary was murdered by the IRA in 1984. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
Gareth McKeown

The mother of a Catholic school teacher murdered by the Provisional IRA in an ambush attack during the Troubles has died.

Joan Travers passsed away peacefully on Friday morning with Irish Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan describing her a "courageous" and "brave" woman.

Mrs Travers' daughter Mary was shot dead on April 8, 1984 by IRA gunman trying to assassinate her husband, Thomas, a Catholic magistrate. The family had left St Brigid's Catholic Church in Derryvolgie Avenue in south Belfast when two gunmen opened fire, a short distance from their Windsor Avenue home.

Mary Travers was shot once through the back and her father was shot six times sustaining serious injuries. Joan Travers only survived the attack after a gun carried by one of the attackers jammed twice when attempted to be fired at point-blank range.

Following the attack Mrs Travers urged people to pray for the gunmen and and said her daughter would have forgiven them.

At the time the IRA said in a statement that the killing of Mary Travers was accidental and that she had been killed by a bullet which passed through her father, hitting her in the back. This was disproven following a post-mortem.

Taking to social media on Friday daughter Ann, a high profile victims' campaigner, relayed news of her mother's death and requested privacy at this time.

"My beautiful mum Joan passed away peacefully this morning, reunited in Heaven with her husband, our father Tom and her gorgeous little Mary taken from her too soon on this earth."

Among the host of tributes was Irish Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan who posted on Twitter: "Condolences & sympathy on the sad passing of a courageous & brave woman".

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