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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Adams under further pressure over email sent to Garda chief

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The Government's Chief Whip has questioned why Gerry Adams allowed senior party figures to run in the General Election if he believed they may have information in relation to the murder of Austin Stack.

Meath East TD Regina Doherty became the latest senior political figure to pile pressure on the Sinn Féin President after it emerged he tied three serving politicians and a suspected former IRA boss to the 1983 killing.

Sinn Féin sources said Mr Adams was due to return to Ireland today and would be asked to explain why he included the names in an email to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan three days before the General Election.

As revealed by the Irish Independent, three of the men are well-known serving politicians.

The fourth man held a very senior role in the IRA at the time of the killing of detective garda Jerry McCabe.

Mr Adams's claims that he received the names from the Stack family have been contradicted by Austin Stack, the son of the murdered prison officer.

Meath East TD Regina Doherty became the latest senior political figure to pile pressure on the Sinn Féin President. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Meath East TD Regina Doherty became the latest senior political figure to pile pressure on the Sinn Féin President. Photo: Fergal Phillips.

And last night, Ms Doherty said it was incredible Mr Adams had yet to speak to all those named.

"I think he needs to explain where he got the names from if Austin Stack was not the source and also if he saw fit to report to the Garda Commissioner days before the General Election to remove any uncertainty around the men," she said.

"Why did he see fit to run them as candidates with uncertainty around them?"

As reported this week, one of the politicians named by Mr Adams in the email - which has been passed over to investigating officers - insisted he had nothing to do with the killing.

He also said that Mr Adams did not tell him he was planning to name him in the email.

Read more: Micheál Martin asks Taoiseach to meet Gerry Adams over IRA murder suspects letter

In the email, sent on February 23, Mr Adams said that in "recent days elements of the media and other politicians claim that I am withholding information relevant to the case".

"I have no information," he said in the email.

"He (Austin Stack) told me that he had been given these names by Garda and journalistic sources.

"Austin asked me if I would ask these individuals if they would meet with him to ascertain if they had any information that might assist the family.

"I am sending these names to you in order to remove any uncertainty about this. Is mise Gerry Adams TD."

Brian Stack, who was the chief prison officer at Portlaoise, was shot in the back of the neck by the IRA in Dublin in 1983. He died from brain injuries 18 months later.

In 2013, the IRA admitted to the murder during a meeting with the Stack family at an undisclosed location close to the Border.

The meeting was arranged by Mr Adams.

The controversy resurfaced during the election campaign after Austin Stack claimed to have been given credible information that two senior members of Sinn Féin were involved in the murder.

The victim's widow, Sheila Stack, has called on Mr Adams to come clean with the truth.

During Sinn Féin's final press conference before polling day, Mr Adams claimed to have spoken to two individuals whose names he said were given to him by Austin Stack.

At that time, Mr Stack denied he gave the names to Mr Adams and stands over this position. Mr Adams said he asked the two individuals to meet with the Stack family but they refused.

Irish Independent

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