'I think the mask has slipped again' - Labour leader says Sinn Féin senator should resign over Stack tweet
Sinn Féin senator Máire Devine is coming under increasing pressure to resign after she retweeted a post labelling IRA victim Brian Stack a “sadist prison officer”.
Labour leader Brendan Howlin called the comments “worrying” and “completely unacceptable” today and said it was reasonable to expect the senator to resign her seat.
Ms Devine has been suspended from the party for three months but the Stack family have called for further action to be taken because of the hurt the remark has brought to their family.
Mr Howlin was unimpressed with Ms Devine’s comments and Sinn Féin’s response. He said he agreed with Mr Stack’s son Austin, who has called for Ms Devine to stand down.
“I think that is a reasonable request,” said Mr Howlin.
“I think, understanding the hurt she has caused, it would be an appropriate thing for her to do.
“It is entirely completely unacceptable and improper for that insulting and hurtful phrase to be used about a servant of our state who was murdered in the line of duty.
“I can’t envisage a member of any other political party or even any Independent elected to these houses who would even contemplate using that phrase.”
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 was brain damaged after the attack and only live for 18 months afterwards.
Mr Howlin said he was concerned that this behaviour was part of a culture within Sinn Féin after the party’s West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff resigned after courting controversy with with a video he posted on Twitter in January on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.
“The fact it is the second time in a few short months where the victims of IRA violence have been traduced in that way is very worrying indeed and I certainly think the page turning that was supposed to be part of the new leadership of Sinn Féin I’m afraid is back to the same page, back to the same response and I think the mask has slipped again.”