Wednesday 23 January 2019

IRA victim's son: 'Vincent Browne is wrong about Adams'

Stack attacks broadcaster's views on Sinn Féin president

Vincent Browne, left, has known Gerry Adams for more than 40 years and was a regular visitor to Belfast during the Troubles
Vincent Browne, left, has known Gerry Adams for more than 40 years and was a regular visitor to Belfast during the Troubles
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The son of IRA murder victim Brian Stack has hit out at broadcaster Vincent Browne's view that peace in the North wouldn't have happened when it did without Gerry Adams.

Austin Stack compared such views to congratulating an arsonist on "calling a fire brigade after the house is burned down".

He also said he wouldn't like to see people "singing Gerry Adams's praises" in the days leading up to him finally stepping down as Sinn Féin president after more than three decades.

Part one of veteran broadcaster Browne's documentary on the outgoing Sinn Féin leader, entitled 'Gerry Adams: War, Peace and Politics' will be broadcast tonight.

Austin Stack. Photo: Frank McGrath
Austin Stack. Photo: Frank McGrath

Promoting the programme, Mr Browne said he has known Mr Adams for more than 40 years and found him to be "one of the most fascinating people in Irish public life during that time".

He said Mr Adams was "very much involved in the IRA campaign of atrocity, murder, and criminality" but added that from the early 1980s "he began to seek a way out of violence and bring the Republican movement with him".

Mr Browne added: "Without him, the atrocities almost certainly would have happened anyway, but without him peace wouldn't have happened when it did."

Last night Mr Stack told the Irish Independent that he branded Mr Browne's assessment of Mr Adams's role "revisionist".

He said: "Gerry Adams is someone who saw that the IRA was defeated and that they had to create another way to get their objectives. It's a bit like somebody saying that an arsonist who starts a fire and then calls the fire brigade is to be congratulated on calling a fire brigade after the house is burned down."

Mr Stack's father Brian was chief prison officer in Portlaoise prison when he was shot in the neck in 1983. The father of three died 18 months after the attack.

The IRA always denied his murder until 2013 when Mr Adams brought Austin Stack in a blacked-out van to a secret meeting where he was told an IRA member carried out the shooting, but it was not sanctioned by the terror group's leadership.

Mr Stack said that Mr Adams has continued to praise the IRA, who he said are "the people who murdered and caused mayhem on this island".

Brian Stack
Brian Stack

He accused Mr Adams - who has repeatedly denied being an IRA member - of not owning up to "his own part in that" and said in his view: "Those are the actions of someone that's a coward."

Mr Stack said that in the build-up to Sinn Féin's handover of power to Mary Lou McDonald, he "certainly would not like to see people singing Gerry Adams's praises", adding that he "has nothing to be praised for."

The first part of Mr Browne's documentary - billed as an "in-depth look at the life of Gerry Adams" - airs on TV3 tonight.

Among the political figures he interviews are former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, ex-SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon and former US congressman Bruce Morrison.

TV3's promotional material notes that Mr Browne was a regular visitor to Belfast during the Troubles and says he "journeys back there and further afield" for the documentary.

The programme promises to "chart the role of Adams in the Northern conflict, his part in the peace process and how, under his leadership, Sinn Féin has transformed itself into one of the largest parties on both sides of the Border."

Ms McDonald is set to assume the leadership of Sinn Féin at a special party ard fheis in Dublin on Saturday.

Irish Independent

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