Ministers criticise Adams for refusal to name IRA official

Tánaiste urges SF leader to give information to gardaí investigating murder of Brian Stack

 Frances Fitzgerald:  Said the murder of prison officer Brian Stack in 1983 was “horrendous” and there was a “clear obligation” on the Sinn Féin leader to pass information to the Garda.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Frances Fitzgerald: Said the murder of prison officer Brian Stack in 1983 was “horrendous” and there was a “clear obligation” on the Sinn Féin leader to pass information to the Garda. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Senior Government Ministers have strongly criticised Gerry Adams for refusing to give the name of a senior IRA official with knowledge of the murder of prison officer Brian Stack.

The Sinn Féin president has confirmed he will not reveal the identity of the figure who met the family of Mr Stack an undisclosed location in 2013.

The sons of Mr Stack were informed at the meeting members of the IRA had carried out the murder without authorisation.

Austin and Oliver Stack insist they were told the person who ordered the killing of their father had been disciplined by the organisation.

Mr Adams denies this, claiming neither he or the IRA official knew the identity of the perpetrators.

The Sinn Féin leader said he would protect his sources and would not be revealing the person the Stack family were taken to meet.

Confidentiality

He would abide by the confidentiality agreement reached between him and the Stack family, he said.

Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan yesterday increased the political pressure on Mr Adams to give the name to An Garda Síochána.

Mr Noonan said murder was murder and Mr Adams could not hide behind the cloak of the peace process.

The Minister said the Garda inquiry remains open and the Sinn Féin leader or any other person has an obligation to give information they have to gardaí.

“There is a particular person the Stack family met, and there is a particular van driver who took them there, and both of them may be in a position to give information to the guards, and like any [responsible] citizens they should do so now. Mr Adams should ensure that they do so,” Mr Noonan said.

‘Nonsense’

He said mixing the murder of a prison officer with the maintenance of the peace process is a “load of nonsense”.

Sinn Féin has accused Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of making a political football of the murder.

However, the Minister for Finance said what the two parties are asking “is normal in any democratic society: if a murder takes place, and people have information about that murder, they are obliged to give it to the investigating authorities, in this case An Garda Síochána.”

The controversy has continued to dominate the political agenda over the past number of days.

Mr Stack (48) was the chief prison officer in Portlaoise Prison when he was shot in the neck on March 25th, 1983 after leaving an amateur boxing contest at the National Stadium in Dublin. The father of three was left paralysed and brain-damaged and lived for 18 months after the incident.

Confronted

Austin Stack confronted Mr Adams at a Sinn Féin press conference on Thursday and accused him of telling untruths in a Dáil statement about his knowledge of the murder. He urged him to give the information to the Garda.

Mr Adams said he cannot name the senior IRA figure because there is no “truth and reconciliation process” in place.

Ms Fitzgerald said there is a “clear obligation” on Mr Adams to pass the information to gardaí without delay.

She said the murder of the prison officer in 1983 was “horrendous”.

“The first point to stress is how Brian served the State. We have to remember this was a prison officer, who was attending a boxing match in Dublin, who was shot. It was an absolutely horrendous murder, a horrific event. What we’re talking about here is murder.”

Ms Fitzgerald said that, as Minister for Justice, she was constrained in what she could say concerning an ongoing criminal investigation, noting the Garda investigation into the murder is ongoing.

Mr Adams has insisted he is willing to co-operate with gardaí.