Brian Stack murder: Alan Farrell denies abusing Dáil privilege

Fine Gael TD claimed Sinn Féin deputies Martin Ferris, Dessie Ellis have knowledge of killing

A Fine Gael TD who claimed two Sinn Féin TDs had knowledge about the murder of prison officer Brian Stack in the Dáil on Wednesday has said he did not abuse parliamentary privilege.

Dublin Fingal's Alan Farrell said it is his "firm belief" that he did not abuse Dáil privilege in naming Dublin North West TD Dessie Ellis and Kerry deputy Martin Ferris as having information about the killing.

The controversy arose after Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was given speaking time to address issues related to Mr Stack's murder. Mr Farrell made his comments on the floor of the House immediately after Mr Adams' statement. The Fine Gael TD said Mr Adams failed to answer some outstanding questions.

Both Mr Ellis and Mr Ferris denied having any information about the death.


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 attack.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has claimed that Mr Adams "definitely" has knowledge that would help the gardaí if he really wanted to achieve justice for the family of Mr Stack.

“I think his statement is unsatisfactory, because essentially he’s making it clear he is not going to provide the name of the individual he brought the two stack sons to,” Mr Martin told Newstalk Breakfast.

“The key point is how do we get those who were responsible for the murder of Brian Stack brought to justice - that’s the core issue. There’s a lot of fog, and Gerry Adams wrapped up a lot of the issues in the peace process, deliberately in my view to avoid that core question.”

Naming names

Mr Martin said he did not want to get into any names but Mr Farrell defended his actions by saying his motivation was the fact that a murder victim’s family have not gotten justice.

"That was my first motivation, my second one was the fact that Deputy Adams had the opportunity to answer a number of unanswered questions which I believe he failed to address," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland. "So when he finished his contribution I interjected to request that the two individuals that are members of Dail Eireann that he named in correspondence with the Garda Commissioner, be given the opportunity to address the fact that they were in his correspondence."

When queried about the names not being in the public domain, Mr Farrell said: “I have the information from multiple sources, multiple individuals have the same information, from different sources themselves. Four members of Dáil Eireann had the information, that to me constitutes public domain.

“I implicated nobody, I made a statement requesting two members of the house, politicians, long standing politicians, to make statements on the inclusion of their names in correspondence.

“To my knowledge, neither deputy were in any way associated with those who pulled the trigger, or so we are being led to believe.

Mr Farrell said he wanted the matter to receive “a proper airing” and that the reason for his move was to “frustration at the lack of usage of the opportunity to clarify matters, but also to disassociate the politics of this.

“And to go back to the fact that we’re talking about a man who was murdered on a Dublin street after a sporting event,” he said.

“I was provided with the information from a confidential, trusted source, subsequently I was able to verify that from another source. I am confident that the information was provided in good faith.”


Mr Farrell said he was not “offering an accusation of wrong doing”.

“I did not in any way infer that either deputy had done anything wrong, I simply wished that they be given an opportunity to address the Dail in the same way that Deputy Adams did.”

He also rejected that he was disingenuous.

“My intention was two fold, firstly frustration and secondly in the course of my responsibility as a member of Dail Eireann and as a member of the Justice Committee since 2012, that the pursuit of justice shouldn’t stop because it is convenient to do so.”

He also said he did not accept that he had put Mr Ferris or Mr Ellis in danger by naming them on the floor of the house.

“I don’t accept that by asking two persons who are members of Dail Eireann to make a statement in regards to their inclusion in correspondence between their own party leader and the Garda Commissioner would put them in danger.”