Mary Lou McDonald aware of names linked to Brian Stack murder
Sinn Féin deputy leader distances party from case of prison officer killed by IRA in 1983
Mary Lou McDonald: “I think that people have an entitlement to their good name and my colleagues are entitled to that.” Photograph: Eric Luke
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has confirmed she is aware of the names of those linked to the murder of prison officer Brian Stack.
Party president Gerry Adams has given the Garda Commissioner the names of four people alleged to have information about the IRA’s 1983 murder of Mr Stack.
Ms McDonald told The Irish Times she had not spoken to the people whose names were given to the Commissioner. “I think that people have an entitlement to their good name and my colleagues are entitled to that.
“I think the gardaí have to do their job and if somebody’s name is mentioned, even if it is wrong, that matter has to be investigated. That is just how life is. That is how the wheels of justice turn.
“What would not be fair is to assume that because a person’s name is mentioned or given or comes in a context is that they are therefore the lead suspect or therefore guilty. That is not on.
“There would be no useful purpose with me having a conversation with anybody on this issue. I take a very straightforward view that matters which pertain to members of an Garda Síochána, where information like that comes forward, they are the people who deal with it, not me.”
Mr Adams has said the names of three Sinn Féin figures, and a fourth former IRA figure, said to be connected with the murder of the prison officer, were given to him by Austin Stack, the deceased’s son.
Mr Stack insists he has not spoken to Mr Adams since 2013, but the Sinn Féin leader only sent the names to the gardaí in February 2016.
Ms McDonald said Mr Adams did the right thing by forwarding the information to an Garda Síochána.
She said her information was that he did so without delay but stressed she was not party to any conversation with Mr Stack and Mr Adams.
In an interview with The Irish Times, the Dublin Central TD said she only became aware of the names of the individuals in “recent times”.
She said: “I think anybody, when information is given to you from whatever source, there is an obligation to pass it on to an Garda Síochána and that is what you do.
“You do not second-guess that process and then it is for the gardaí to investigate and establish matters. That is for them, not us.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny rebuked Mr Adams, during his visit to the United States, for the failure of the Republican movement to disclose information about the murder.
Mr Adams has said that the killing was not authorised by the IRA and that a senior Republican figure had been “disciplined” by the group, while its leadership had apologised to the Stack family.
“Kangaroo courts are no substitute for the courts of the land. Gerry Adams seems to have known about this for a very long time. This is another case of the full truth not being known,” Mr Kenny told reporters during the second day of his US visit.
The Taoiseach said that he was prepared to meet Austin Stack and and that he would expect to hear more about the killing when he next spoke to Mr Adams.