In the Dáil.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, under Standing Order 46 (1), made a personal explanation to the Dáil in relation to the shooting of Brian Stack.
Father-of-three Mr Stack was aged 48 and the chief prison officer in Portlaoise prison when he was shot in the neck on March 25th, 1983, after attending a boxing match in the National Stadium.
He died 18 months after the shooting which left him paralysed and with severe brain damage.
During this address in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Adams said:
“For the record, I will again set out the sequence of events and my efforts to assist the family of Brian Stack. Austin Stack approached me in 2013 seeking acknowledgment for what happened to his father.
I met Austin on a number of occasions over the course of the following months, mostly on my own. Austin and his brother Oliver made it clear to me, personally and said publicly, that they were not looking for people to go to jail. They wanted acknowledgement and they wanted closure.
There is a note of that initial meeting, and I am releasing that today.
The computer stamp shows that this note was typed into the computer on 16 May, seven days after the first meeting with the family. Austin Stack speaks of his commitment to restorative justice processes. I believe him.
I told the Stack brothers that I could help only on the basis of confidentiality. This was the same basis on which I have tried to help other families. Both Austin and Oliver agreed to respect the confidential nature of the process we were going to try to put in place.
Without that commitment, I could never have pursued the meeting they were seeking, which took place later that summer.
The brothers were given a statement at that meeting by a former IRA leader. That statement was made available publicly by the Stack family. The statement acknowledged that the IRA was responsible for their father’s death, that it regretted it took so long to clarify this for them, that the shooting of Brian Stack was not authorised by the IRA leadership, and that the person who gave the instruction was disciplined.
The statement expressed sorrow for the pain and hurt the Stack family suffered.
Following the meeting, the family acknowledged that the process “has provided us with some answers that three separate Garda investigations failed to deliver. We would like to thank Deputy Adams for the role he has played in facilitating this outcome”.
Since then, the position of Austin Stack has changed.
In 2013, Austin gave me the names of four people whom he believed might have information on the case. He told me that he had been given these names by journalistic and Garda sources.
Austin denies giving me names. Why on earth would I say that I received the names from him if I did not? Continue reading