Saturday 7 December 2019

Son wants SF TD to withdraw Stack slur

Austin Stack. Photo: Frank McGrath
Austin Stack. Photo: Frank McGrath
Martin Ferris. Photo: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor and Cormac McQuinn

The son of a prison officer murdered by the IRA has called on a leading Sinn Féin TD to apologise for calling his father a "particularly vindictive individual" who was "despised" by his colleagues.

Kerry deputy Martin Ferris made the claims in his biography against Portlaoise prison officer Brian Stack, who suffered brain damage after being shot by the IRA during The Troubles.

The victim, who was chief prison officer of Portlaoise at the time of his murder, died 18 months later as a result of the injuries he sustained.

In his biography, 'Martin Ferris - Man of Kerry', the deputy attacked the character of Mr Stack in a move that caused further upset to his family.

He described Stack as "a particularly vindictive individual" who "was also despised by prison officers and prisoners other than republicans".

Mr Ferris was an IRA prisoner in Portlaoise Prison during Brian Stack's time there.

In a statement last night, Mr Ferris said: "The killing of Brian Stack was wrong and should never have happened. I have never had any wish to compound the hurt felt by Brian Stack's family. That is the last thing I would want to do and it was certainly not my intention when the book about me was written over 10 years ago.

"If the family have information in relation to this killing, it should be handed over to the gardaí."

The victim's son Austin Stack, (inset above), called on Mr Ferris, (inset below), to issue a full retraction, public apology and make a donation to charity. And he called on Sinn Féin to discipline their TD.

"My family are disgusted by these vile and vindictive allegations," Mr Stack told the Irish Independent last night.

"Martin Ferris and Sinn Féin are not happy that their colleagues murdered my Dad but they also want to defame a good decent man who is not around to defend himself," he added.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Niall Collins described the remarks by Mr Ferris as "vicious" and said the murder had been "relegated to a footnote" in the book.

Irish Independent

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