Adams: I found out in 2013 that IRA killed Brian Stack

Sinn Féin leader under pressure of killing of prison officer in 1983

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said he was not aware the IRA was responsible for the murder of prison officer Brian Stack in the early 1980s until three years ago.

Mr Adams said today that he only became aware of the IRA's involvement shortly before a secret meeting he arranged between members of the Stack family and a senior IRA commander in 2013.

In an interview with RTÉ Radio's This Week, Mr Adams repeatedly said he would not disclose the identity of the IRA commander, as he had given a commitment to the man not to do so.

He also said he was not aware of the sanction the IRA had imposed on the person who had ordered the murder of Mr Stack in a killing that had not been authorised by the leadership of the Provisional IRA. He said he was not an investigative body and that had not been his role in the process.


Under persistent questioning, Mr Adams also denied that he had withheld information from gardaí by not passing on the names of four individuals who the Stack family believe to be involved.

He said the reason he did not pass on the names until shortly before this year’s general election was because he received the information from Brian Stack’s son Austin, who, in turn, had said he received it from Garda and journalistic sources.

Mr Adams said he would be disinclined to be involved in such a process again, given what he asserted was the way in which it had been manipulated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil leader and some media organisations.

“I don’t know. It’ unlikely but I don’t know. If somebody comes to you and tell you their sad story, you try and bring as much comfort and closure and truth as is possible. When it’s all subverted as this is (it is difficult),” he said.

Asked would he ask the IRA commander would he be willing to go to the Garda, he said: “I have no intention to revisiting this part of this issue.”

When questioned about his dealing with the Stack family, Mr Adams said: “I delivered on this case. We came to a conclusion on the process we were involved with. I am disappointed in the way it has turned out.

“The incident is clearly being used by the Taoiseach and by the Fianna Fail leaders and others,” he said.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times