Monday 22 January 2018

Hope for prison officer's family

Oliver, left, and Austin Stack are the sons of Brian Stack, the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic of Ireland
Oliver, left, and Austin Stack are the sons of Brian Stack, the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic of Ireland

The family of the only prison officer murdered in the Republic of Ireland are hopeful of getting to the bottom of the killing after meeting Gerry Adams, they said.

Austin and Oliver Stack, whose father Brian was gunned down outside the National Stadium in Dublin three decades ago, held talks lasting more than an hour with the Sinn Fein leader at Leinster House.

They believe they know the identity of the killer, his getaway driver and a senior IRA figure they say sanctioned the assassination, and have urged Mr Adams to put pressure on republican colleagues to confess anything they know.

"It was a very good and productive meeting," said Austin Stack afterwards. "I felt it was a very genuine meeting. Mr Adams expressed his sorrow for our loss and said he felt our pain, and in my view he was quite genuine in that. He said he may or may not be able to help us, but we are hopeful that something could come out of it."

The Stack family and Mr Adams have agreed to meet again within a month to see if any progress has been made in their quest for answers about their father's death.

"We put a lot of issues on the table and all of those issues, Mr Adams has agreed to have a look at," he said. "We're very happy with the outcome of the meeting."

Father of three Brian Stack, then chief prison officer at Portlaoise Prison, was shot in the back of the neck on March 25, 1983, on a busy Dublin street as he left a boxing contest at the National Stadium. Paralysed and brain-damaged from the shooting, he suffered for a further 18 months before dying from his injuries at the age of 47.

Austin Stack, who followed in his father's footsteps and is now assistant governor of Dublin's Wheatfield Prison, said they asked Mr Adams to use whatever connections he had to get people who knew about the murder to meet them.

Mr Stack believes his father was killed as an act of "vengeance and frustration" by the IRA because of his strict security regime at Portlaoise Prison, which housed all republican prisoners in the state. His father was also aware of plans for an IRA prison escape - which was later botched - and suspected insiders were helping the Provos, he said.

Mr Adams said: "I want to express condolences for their loss - like many families they are looking for closure and have borne their bereavement with great courage. We have each agreed to go off and reflect on what was said. And we have agreed to meet again."

Press Association

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