Sunday 15 September 2019

Stack fury at TD's Nazi slur on father

Martin Ferris. Photo: Tom Burke
Martin Ferris. Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The son of murdered chief prison officer Brian Stack has said Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris had "slurred" his father's name after he drew comparisons between Portlaoise Prison management and Hitler's secret police force.

Last Thursday, Mr Ferris was asked by Radio Kerry about comments attributed to him in his biography in which he described Brian Stack as a "particularly vindictive individual".

The Kerry TD responded: "What I said about prison management was very, very consistent with what the Prison Officers conference said in 1982 and I'll quote from it if you want to, where two delegates stood up and said if Hitler was looking for SS men he need look no further than prison management in Portlaoise Prison."

Speaking to the Sunday Independent yesterday, Mr Stack's son, Austin, said: "He has slurred my father and that's what he does. It's beyond comment and it just shows what Sinn Fein are really like."

In a statement last night, Sinn Fein said: "Martin Ferris did not compare them. He quoted a prison officer speaking at a conference."

However, Peadar Toibin, a Sinn Fein TD for Meath West, refused to support his party colleagues and insisted he "would never speak ill of the dead" during an interview on RTE Radio One.

Meanwhile, a Sinn Fein councillor has denied he is the Provisional IRA figure who met Austin Stack and his brother, Oliver, to discuss their father's murder outside a Dublin boxing club in 1983.

The name of a former senior IRA leader, who has close links to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, was passed to gardai last week by Austin Stack. However, a solicitor for the Sinn Fein councillor said their client has never met the Stack brothers to discuss their father's "death".

"I refer to the allegation made that our client met with the Stack brothers in 2013 in relation to the death of their father. Please be advised that my client categorically refutes any such allegation. My client has never met either of the Stack brothers in relation to their father's death," the solicitor said.

Austin Stack has publicly stated he was "95pc sure" the name he identified to gardai was the senior IRA figure he met with Gerry Adams when he was brought across the Border in a blacked-out van by the Sinn Fein president.

Austin Stack confronted Gerry Adams at a press conference last week and asked that the Sinn Fein president tell gardai the identity of the IRA man he and his brother were brought to meet.

However, Mr Adams has refused to name the individual who confirmed to the Stack brothers that Provisional IRA hitmen carried out the brutal murder of their father.

Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said Mr Adams has an obligation to hand over any information he has on the "live murder investigation" into the killing of Brian Stack.

"Like any criminal investigation, gardai should be assisted by the public particularly by members of Dail Eireann," Mr Flanagan told the Sunday Independent. Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald also said "there are no exemptions" for anyone when it comes to murder investigations.

The Sinn Fein president has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged he gave the names of four former IRA figures alleged to have information on Stack's murder to Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan. In the Dail last week, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell named Sinn Fein TDs Dessie Ellis and Martin Ferris as among those named by Mr Adams in his email to the Garda Commissioner. Mr Adams has claimed he was given these names by Austin Stack. Austin Stack has insisted he gave him no names.

Sunday Independent

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