Stack family calls on Garda for explanation
Son says family achieved a ‘huge amount of closure’ after IRA statement
Austin and Oliver Stack, sons of Brian Stack, the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic, following a series of meetings with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams at Leinster House yesterday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
The family of a senior prison officer who was murdered by the Provisional IRA in the early 1980s has called on the Garda to explain the failings in its original investigation into the killing.
Brian Stack, then chief officer at Portlaoise Prison, was shot outside the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin on March 25th, 1983, and died from his injuries 18 months later. He was 48, married and a father of three young sons.
The eldest son, Austin Stack, said yesterday that the family had achieved a “huge amount of closure” after the IRA admitted for the first time last week that its members had carried out the shooting.
“We didn’t get full closure in that we still have not got an individual responsible and that we don’t know what happened in the first investigation and why that went so pear-shaped,” he said.
Mr Stack said the Garda had never provided an adequate explanation for the shortcomings in its investigation, adding that fingerprint records were destroyed in a flood while other material evidence disappeared.
“My mother went to Kevin Street Garda station, where the original investigation was being conducted from, two days after the shooting and she asked them to specifically focus on Portlaoise Prison.
“The Garda authorities have told us from the outset that the investigation never passed Newlands Cross.”
Mr Stack said this was in spite of the fact that this was a capital murder case at the time, the most serious criminal charge.
“Brian Stack was a proud and loyal servant of this State, a role model in his community and a dedicated family man,” he said in a statement to reporters outside Leinster House.
He called on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to meet the family and provide an update on the investigation. A Garda spokesman declined to respond to the statement but said a detective superintendent had been appointed to investigate and liaise with the family.
In a statement to the Stack family, the IRA said its members were acting on orders. However, it said the attack was not authorised by its own leadership.
“Some years later, when the army council discovered that its volunteers had shot prison officer Brian Stack, the volunteer responsible for the instruction was disciplined,” the IRA statement said.