Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has become embroiled in a damaging row with the son of provisional IRA victim Brian Stack after insisting he received the names of four people involved in his murder from the grieving family.
Mr Adams made the claim despite Mr Stack’s son Austin stating he and his family never gave any names to him and demanded answers on where the information emerged. Reports yesterday said that in a recent email to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, Mr Adams provided the names of four senior IRA members who may have information about the 1983 murder of Mr Stack.
Mr Stack — the only prison officer to have been murdered in the Republic during the Troubles — was shot in 1983 while working at Portlaoise prison, before dying from his injuries the following year. While the IRA denied its involvement for 30 years, senior members admitted responsibility during a meeting with Austin Stack in 2003 which was organised by Mr Adams.
In the email to Ms O’Sullivan, Mr Adams claimed Austin Stack had given him the names of individuals who may have been involved in the murder. Mr Stack’s surviving relatives insisted yesterday they never gave Mr Adams the names.
However, in a statement from Cuba where he is attending the funeral of Fidel Castro, the Sinn Féin leader repeated his claim and rejected Austin Stack’s version of events. “I was given a number of names by Austin Stack which he told me he had been given by journalistic and garda sources. I passed the names on to the garda commissioner while making clear that I have no information on the death of Brian Stack. The gardaí are the only body that can investigate this matter,” he said.
In the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny urged Mr Adams to clarify who gave him the names.
“Sinn Féin needs to address this. They will know who murdered him, know who gave the orders to executed him, unwarranted. They will know these things. That family deserve to know the truth,” he said.
Mr Kenny was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said the Taoiseach should meet with Mr Adams. “In March 1983 they shot Brian Stack in the back of the neck. Deputy Adams can pass on the names to garda commissioner and we are all meant to go off into the night.
“The IRA know who did it, they know who com-mitted the murder and they should come clean. This was an atrocity. It was cold blooded,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved