Thursday 19 July 2018

'I deeply regret that' - Devine makes Seanad apology to Stack family over offensive tweet

Senator Máire Devine and Austin Stack. Photo: Oireacthas.ie/Frank McGrath
Senator Máire Devine and Austin Stack. Photo: Oireacthas.ie/Frank McGrath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

MÁIRE Devine has apologised in the Seanad to the family of IRA murder victim Brian Stack for sharing an offensive social media post that described him as a ‘sadistic prison officer’.

The Sinn Féin Senator delivered her apology in the chamber this afternoon, claiming that she hadn’t read the full Twitter post before she retweeted it.

Austin Stack, the son of Brian Stack, has heavily criticised Ms Devine’s sharing of the Twitter post and called for her to be expelled from the party.

Ms Devine was last week suspended from Sinn Féin for three months for the incident and apologised in a statement.

She requested time to make a personal statement in the Seanad today.

Cathaoirleach Denis O’Donovan granted the request but said he would not allow any debate on the matter.

“Once the personal explanation is made, the matter is closed,” he said.

Ms Devine said she wanted to put her apology to the family of Brian Stack on the record of the House.

She said that on March 18: “I retweeted what I thought to be a genuine tweet without having read the full content of that tweet.”

Ms Devine said that a number of follow-up Twitter posts she made were “wholly inappropriate” and added: “I deeply regret that”.

“I want to again apologise for any and all offence and hurt that was caused by my Twitter activity”

“It was never my intention to cause more hurt to those already in deep distress.

“I want to put on the record my most sincere apologies to the family of the late Brian Stack,” she added.

Brian Stack (48) was the chief prison officer in Portlaoise Prison when he was shot leaving a boxing match in 1983.

The father-of-three died 18 months later.

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