Sunday 21 January 2018

Adams under pressure from Sinn Féin colleagues after murder link

Mr Adams’s leadership has been plunged into a fresh crisis. Pic: Collins
Mr Adams’s leadership has been plunged into a fresh crisis. Pic: Collins

Niall O'Connor and Cormac McQuinn

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is facing an angry showdown with party figures after he dramatically tied three of his own politicians to the brutal murder of prison officer Brian Stack.

Mr Adams's leadership has been plunged into a fresh crisis after the Irish Independent revealed how he included the names of the three serving politicians in an email to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

One of the politicians, who is a household name, told the Irish Independent last night that he had no role in the murder of Brian Stack and that Mr Adams never consulted him prior to naming him in the email.

The politician said he would be seeking answers from Mr Adams as soon as he returned from Cuba, where he is attending the funeral of the late dictator Fidel Castro.

A fourth man, also named in the email, is an alleged senior former boss of the Provisional IRA. The Irish Independent can reveal that he was in the senior echelons of the terror group when Detective Garda Jerry McCabe was murdered, and has been investigated for alleged crimes by Spanish police.

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

Read more: Adams names Sinn Féin figures in email to Garda chief on murder

The revelation that Mr Adams sent the names of the politicians to the commissioner three days before the General Election has stunned the Dáil.

During 'Leaders' Questions', Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described the killing of Mr Stack as "a cold-blooded murder" of "a loyal, diligent and committed officer of this State".

He asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny to meet Mr Adams "to put to him the need to co-operate fully with any investigation".

Responding to Mr Martin, Mr Kenny demanded that Sinn Féin come clean on the murder of Brian Stack, saying the family of the late prison officer "deserve to know the truth".

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan went much further, saying that he now expected the Garda investigation into the Stack murder to be "stepped up" following the decision by Mr Adams to provide the names to Ms O'Sullivan.

Describing the murder as "brutal and heinous", Mr Flanagan called on any member of the Dáil with information to come forward.

He said the murder in March 1983 has left scars on the community of Portlaoise, where Mr Stack worked.

Mr Stack's son, Austin, has insisted that he never gave any of the names of the four individuals to Mr Adams during their several meetings in 2013.

Insisted

However, in a statement last night, Mr Adams insisted the names passed on to the commissioner were provided to him by Austin Stack.

"I passed the names on to the Garda commissioner while making clear that I have no information on the death of Brian Stack," Mr Adams said in Havana.

"Gardaí are the only body that can investigate this matter. I am prepared to co-operate with them on this."

Last night, Sinn Féin TD Éoin Ó Broin described the killing as "wrong", but accused Mr Martin of trying to "score political points".

He said Mr Adams was "more than happy" to engage with gardaí on the matter.

Irish Independent

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