Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Gerry Adams and the Sons of former Portlaoise Prison Officer Brian Stack, Killed by the IRA in 1983

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Many of my friends may be surprised, but I think Gerry Adams is telling the truth about his encounters with the sons of Brian Stack, a Portlaoise Prison Officer killed by the IRA in 1983.

Austin Stack probably gave the names of alleged 1983 IRA killers of his father Brian Stack (a prison officer) to the Sinn Féin President, not the other way around. That explains the Gerry Adams email to Garda boss Nóirín O’Sullivan on this matter.

Gerry Adams Names 4 People in an e-mail to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

Part of the problem here is that Gerry Adams has a well deserved reputation for not telling the truth about the 1969-1998 War and his role in that conflict.

There will be no truth process about the 1969-1998 War over the partition of Ireland (the troubles) short of a general amnesty covering all participants. The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) fell well short of this, one of the reasons I voted No to this deal and remain opposed to it today.

In previous Irish Republican armed campaigns which collapsed (for example the failed “Operation Harvest” of 1956-1961) – captured volunteers were simply released. Under the GFA – because of the way the thing has been written – they are only out on license – they can be dragged back if the state wants it. People with a conviction carry a sentence of two years.  Sinn Féin say very little about this, because the party is so committed to the settlement.

I suspect many readers have never heard of Tony Taylor from Derry, a victim of these GFA measures Tony Taylor, Interned Because of the Good Friday Agreement

The main political organisation kicking up a fuss is People Before Profit and its Derry Member of the Stormont Assembly Eamonn McCann.

Another part of the problem is that Sinn Féin Kerry TD Martin Ferris offered an explanation for what happened to Mr Stack in a 2005 biography, but is now retreating from previous frank words :

“The son of a prison officer murdered by the IRA has called on a leading Sinn Féin TD to apologise for calling his father a “particularly vindictive individual” who was “despised” by his colleagues.

Kerry deputy Martin Ferris made the claims in his biography against Portlaoise prison officer Brian Stack, who suffered brain damage after being shot by the IRA during The Troubles.

The victim, who was chief prison officer of Portlaoise at the time of his murder, died 18 months later as a result of the injuries he sustained.

In his biography, ‘Martin Ferris – Man of Kerry’, the deputy attacked the character of Mr Stack in a move that caused further upset to his family.

He described Stack as “a particularly vindictive individual” who “was also despised by prison officers and prisoners other than republicans”.

Mr Ferris was an IRA prisoner in Portlaoise Prison during Brian Stack’s time there.

In a statement last night, Mr Ferris said: “The killing of Brian Stack was wrong and should never have happened. I have never had any wish to compound the hurt felt by Brian Stack’s family. That is the last thing I would want to do and it was certainly not my intention when the book about me was written over 10 years ago.

“If the family have information in relation to this killing, it should be handed over to the gardaí.”  Martin Ferris TD Offers an Explanation, and then Retracts It

Very few media writers are willing to explore this question.  Ed Moloney is an exception:

“What was it that Brian Stack did to provoke the Provos into killing him, and by so doing risk an almighty confrontation with the Irish state? It must have been something pretty hairy, I would guess, for the IRA to have ignored General Army Order No. 8 and to place Sinn Fein’s burgeoning electoral ambitions in the South in some peril.

I suspect the answer lies in events that took place in Portlaoise jail in the early 1980’s.” Ed Moloney Explores An Awkward Question

What is needed?

Brendan Young Site of Councillor Brendan Young, North Kildare offers a good start :

“an overall process that gives an account of all of the killings – including those carried out by the various state forces in the North. The cynical posturing by FF and FG is merely pressure on SF to declare loyalty to the institutions of the Irish state and legitimise its repressive apparatus and legislation. They do not actually care about prison staff – as shown by the cuts to services and the associated lockup regimes that increase tension and make life worse for prisoners and staff.”

John Meehan December 13 2016

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