TDs knew details of Gerry Adams’s email on Stack case

Several Deputies knew Sinn Féin TDs had been named in connection with IRA murder

Details of a leaked email sent by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to the Garda Commissioner earlier this year were known by a number of Dáil deputies when two TDs were named under Oireachtas privilege in connection with the IRA murder of Brian Stack.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath contended this weekend that a journalist had asked him to use Dáil privilege to name Sinn Féin TDs Martin Ferris and Dessie Ellis in the context of the murder of the prisoner officer.

Both have denied any connection with the death.

A deputy governor of Portlaoise Prison, Mr Stack was shot outside the National Stadium in Dublin in 1982 and died of his injuries 18 months later.

Mr McGrath told the Sunday Times he declined to use the information from an email sent by Mr Adams to the commissioner.

It contained four names that Mr Adams had said had been passed onto to him by Austin Stack, the son of the late Mr Stack, when they met in 2013.

Mr McGrath has said he will not disclose the name of the journalist.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell named the two Sinn Féin TDs under privilege last Wednesday, minutes after Mr Adams had made a personal statement about his own dealings with the case.

The Irish Times is aware of at least two other TDs who were aware of the contents of the email last week, although neither was asked to name names.

No approach

Yesterday, Mr Farrell insisted that he had taken the action of his own volition, without any approach.

He confirmed he received an email and that he had verified the names.

“Anyone who suggests I was coached, counselled or cajoled [into naming the two TDs] is talking through their hat,” he said.

The disclosure prompted Sinn Féin to contend that the attack was orchestrated and part of a political agenda to damage the party.

One of those named, Mr Ferris, said it was “obvious that Micheál Martin and Independent Newspapers have an agenda to stifle the growth of Sinn Féin”.

Mr Adams yesterday said the party's rivals, particularly Fianna Fáil, had "sought to use the issue of victims for despicable and opportunistic attacks".

Mr Adams maintained he only became aware of the IRA’s involvement in the murder 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.

Over the weekend, Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín said Niall O’Connor, a political correspondent with Independent Newspapers, had been seen speaking to Mr Farrell before he named the two TDs in the Dáil.

Both Mr Tóibín and Mr O’Connor were panellists on RTÉ Radio’s Saturday with Claire Byrne show. Mr Tóibín asked had Mr O’Connor coached or put Mr Farrell up to naming the names.

Mr O’Connor strongly rejected the claim, saying he had met Mr Farrell during the week on a completely different matter.

"I met him to discuss his plans for the 10th anniversary of the Goal Mile in Malahide, which is a story I am doing with him for the Herald," he said.

Last night, Austin Stack said he never supplied names to Mr Adams.

He said Mr Adams had sought names at their first meeting in 2013 but he had refused to give them.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

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