Saturday 20 July 2019

'Killer is at large' says Taoiseach as pressure mounts on Adams

Chief Whip Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke
Chief Whip Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Gerry Adams is withholding information on a live murder investigation from gardaí, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

In his strongest statement yet on the killing of prison officer Brian Stack, Mr Kenny said he expected more from the Sinn Féin leader's statement to the Dáil.

"His statement is incomplete. A man was murdered. His killer is known. His killer is at large," the Taoiseach said.

"I would have expected that in the statement that the President of Sinn Féin made that he would have named the driver of that blacked-out van to the Garda Commissioner so that could be part of a live investigation."

He was speaking after Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty went even further by suggesting that Mr Adams's refusal to name an IRA leader who gave the Stack brothers, Austin and Oliver, information about their father's murder is tantamount to "allowing a man to, quite literally, get away with murder".

Brian Stack, the chief prison officer in Portlaoise, was shot in the neck by the IRA after leaving an amateur boxing contest at the National Stadium in Dublin in March 1983.

An embattled Gerry Adams questioned the timing of the Taoiseach's intervention on RTÉ's Six One news last night, saying he should set up a truth commission. "That is the only viable way for families to achieve justice," he said.

Mr Adams said he stands by his efforts to help the Stack family.

"I've heard nothing from the other political parties or the Stack brothers to shift me from my strong view that I did my best," he said.

However, Austin Stack described Wednesday's Dáil statement by the Sinn Féin boss as "a pantomime" where he told "untruth after untruth".

He wants Mr Adams to reveal the identity of the man who confirmed to the family that IRA members carried out the hit.

"Gerry Adams must give that name to An Garda Síochána. It is crucial to this investigation.

"This man knows the people who murdered my father. This man knows where those people are," Mr Stack said.

"If this was Micheál Martin or Enda Kenny the media would be all over this. Why do different standards apply to Gerry Adams?"

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TDs Dessie Ellis and Martin Ferris are understood to be considering lodging a complaint over Fine Gael backbencher Alan Farrell's decision to name them in connection with the murder under Dáil privilege.

Mr Farrell said the two deputies should make statements because they were named in an email sent by Gerry Adams to the Garda Commissioner last February in which he claimed they may have information about the killing.

Mr Adams rejected suggestions the Dublin-Fingal representative's use of privilege was similar to an occasion when his own deputy, Mary Lou McDonald, named a number of high-profile people as potentially evading tax. Revenue officials subsequently said allegations in a leaked Ansbacher dossier had been fully investigated. No further action was taken.

"There's a totally different quality to a leaked document from a journalist, which clearly Alan Farrell had, and a protected disclosure made in good faith and observance of the law," he said.

Mr Farrell is of the "firm belief" he did nothing wrong.

On Radio Kerry, Mr Ferris criticised his naming, saying: "There are things I could say about people in other parties and I have kept my mouth shut and will never betray people but I have kept my mouth shut… that would highly embarrass Micheál Martin and his party and others if I wish to do so."

Asked what he meant by that, he replied: "We'll leave it at that because I've never betrayed anybody in my life and I'm not going to start now."

Irish Independent

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