Tuesday 20 February 2018

IRA gunrunner Ferris claims no knowledge of Stack murder

Martin Ferris cast a serious slur on Brian Stack in his 2006 biography. Photo: Tom Burke
Martin Ferris cast a serious slur on Brian Stack in his 2006 biography. Photo: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris claims he does not know anything about the Provisional IRA murder of prison officer Brian Stack despite his central role in the terrorist group at the time of the brutal killing.

Mr Ferris spent more than a decade jailed in Portlaoise Prison, where Mr Stack served, and has made disparaging comments about the prison officer.

When asked if he had any information on Mr Stack's death, Mr Ferris said: "No, no information, absolutely none."

Sinn Féin is under mounting pressure over its failure to assist the investigation and has faced damning criticism from Mr Stack's son Austin.

Writing in today's Irish Independent, Mr Stack accuses Gerry Adams of "playing the victim" and trying to deflect attention from his family's trauma after he alleged two senior Sinn Féin figures were involved in his father's murder.

"Gerry Adams' response when I placed this information in the public domain last week was to deflect the issue away from these two murderers whom he protects," he writes.

"He firstly played the victim himself and tried to make out that he has somehow suffered in a similar way to my family."

Mr Adams faced questioning over the murder during an interview on RTÉ Radio One and clashed with Fine Gael's Meath East TD Regina Doherty on radio station LMFM.

Mr Adams also came under pressure from his own deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, who urged him to give any information he had on Mr Stack's murder to gardaí after he claimed to have been given the names of two Sinn Féin members involved in the crime.

Her comments follow conflicting accounts over how Mr Adams received the names of two Sinn Féin members alleged to be involved in the killing.

He claimed he was given the information by Austin Stack but this was strongly denied by the prison officer's son.

Brian Stack was shot by the IRA in Dublin in 1983 and died of his injuries 18 months later.

In 2013, the IRA finally admitted responsibility for the killing at a meeting with the victim's family, which had been set up by Mr Adams.

Last week, Brian Stack said he obtained credible information suggesting two senior Sinn Féin figures, both of whom currently hold office, were involved in the murder.

In his biography, 'Martin Ferris - Man of Kerry', the deputy attacks the character of Mr Stack which caused upset to his family.

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

Yesterday, Ms McDonald said there was "absolutely" a responsibility on all citizens, including Mr Adams, to give details of crimes to gardaí.

"All of us and Gerry included are on the record (saying) where there has been an offence or any criminal action information needs to go to An Garda Síochána. They are the duly constituted body to investigate these matters," she said.

"I'm sure any information Gerry would have (would be given to gardaí)," she added.

Sinn Féin did not respond yesterday to all attempts to establish whether Mr Adams had passed the allegations he has received on to gardaí.

Irish Independent

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