Sunday 25 August 2019

Minister urges Adams to help solve murder of prison officer

Gerry Adams, who was interviewed by gardai about meeting role, with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Getty
Gerry Adams, who was interviewed by gardai about meeting role, with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Getty
Brian Stack, chief prison officer, shot in 1983
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has called on former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to give further help to gardai investigating the murder of chief prison officer Brian Stack in 1983.

Mr Flanagan said the shooting of Mr Stack could not have happened without being sanctioned by the Provisional IRA leadership, and those involved should now be brought to justice.

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"The wall of silence around the brutal murder of Brian Stack is indicative of the highly disciplined involvement of the Provisional IRA and now 21 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement I am calling on the republican movement and Sinn Fein to assist gardai in solving this callous crime," he said.

"At a clandestine meeting organised by Gerry Adams it was alleged a number of names were mentioned and I'm calling on Mr Adams and the Sinn Fein membership to provide all and any information they have to gardai," he added.

Mr Flanagan, who knew Mr Stack from his time working as solicitor in Portlaoise, was referring to the meeting Mr Adams organised between a senior IRA figure and Mr Stack's sons Austin and Oliver in 2013.

In 2016, Mr Adams provided the names of four people whom he said he was told could have information on Mr Stack's murder.

It emerged last week that Mr Adams was interviewed by gardai about his role in facilitating a meeting between Brian Stack's sons and a senior Provisional IRA figure.

Mr Flanagan's interventions follows Garda Commissioner Drew Harris issuing a full apology to the Stack family for the failings in the original investigation into the prison officer's murder.

After a private meeting with the family last Wednesday, Mr Harris released a statement in which he said he offered "an apology for the failings and shortcomings in the investigation".

"I fully acknowledge that these matters are serious and had a detrimental impact on the investigation," he added.

Mr Flanagan said the Commissioner's handling of the investigation has been "highly appropriate".

"I acknowledge the Garda Commissioner has apologised about certain issues in the investigation and he has requested a further review of the matter," he said.

Gardai are still treating the three-decade-old murder as a live investigation and are appealing for people to come forward with information.

Mr Stack's family have requested an independent inquiry into the murder which would be overseen by an expert from outside the State.

Brian Stack was gunned down as he left an amateur boxing match in the National Stadium in Dublin in March, 1983. He died of his injuries 18 months later.

The IRA figure who met Mr Stack's sons, Austin and Oliver, said the murder had not been sanctioned by the terror group and those involved were disciplined.

Sunday Independent

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