Finance Minister Michael Noonan has warned Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams that “murder is murder” as he described claims more information on Brian Stack’s shooting cannot be provided due to the peace process as “nonsense”.
The government TD made the comment as a number of ministers joined forces to insist Mr Adams reveals the name of the Provisional IRA member who carried out an investigation into the 1983 killing and how the gunman was “disciplined”.
Speaking at an event in Co Limerick, Mr Noonan said Mr Adams is “obliged” to give any information he has to gardai.
Addressing the fallout from the 1983 shooting directly, he said the reality is “murder is murder” and that Mr Adams will be breaking the law if he does not give gardai the names of those involved.
“There are people who seem to have information about the murder of Brian Stack. There is a particular person that the Stack family met [in 2013 as part of a meeting organised by Mr Adams] and there was a particular van driver who took them there.
“Both of them may be in a position to give some information to the gardai, and like any citizens, they should do so now.
“Murder is murder. Any person, whether they’re a TD, councillor or a straight-forward citizen, has an obligation to give information to the gardai if they have it about a murder that was perpetrated,” he said.
Asked about Mr Adams’ view — that he cannot provide the names of the person the Stack family were brought to meet in 2013 to explain what happened to their father as this may impact on the peace process and limit the information supplied confidentially by the Provisional IRA on other cases — Mr Noonan said that the argument was “nonsense”.
Noting the fact Mr Stack was a prison officer in the Republic who was shot in this jurisdiction and had nothing to do with the Northern Ireland Troubles, he said:
“To be trying to mix it [the murder] up with the peace process is a piece of nonsense.”
The view was supported yesterday by Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who said Mr Adams is “prioritising justice on the back of a murder investigation over loyalty to former IRA comrades”.
Speaking in Dublin at the same time as the Limerick remarks, Government chief whip Regina Doherty said she agrees with Sinn Féin that now is the time for a truth and reconciliation process to begin into the Northern Ireland Troubles.
However, she stressed this process cannot include the Brian Stack murder as it had nothing to do with the Troubles and was, according to Sinn Féin, unsanctioned — meaning it was simply a murder with no political links.
“That murder would fall specifically outside of this process.
“Gerry Adams seems to think he has been prohibited by some confidentiality agreement. I do appreciate involvement of Gerry Adams and many others into peace process, but it cannot be by any price.
“It’s not grey. It’s perfectly black and white. There is a person in this country literally getting away with murder,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Fine Gael TD who named Sinn Féin TDs Dessie Ellis and Martin Ferris in relation to the case in the Dáil on Wednesday could be sanctioned over the move.
Dáil ceann comhairle Sean Ó Fearghail confirmed last night Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell’s action will be examined by the committee on procedure and privileges.
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