So, for the sake of completeness on on-going saga of what Gerry Adams knows about the murder of Brian Stack, there was an interesting exchange at Leaders Questions in the Dail today between the Taoiseach and Micheal Martin (VIDEO).
When it came to his turn Adams, dismissed Martin’s intervention as an “opportunistic, cynical and contemptible” attempt to undermine his “efforts in good faith to assist the family of Mr. Brian Stack”. Only, of course, that’s not how the Stack family see it:
The media need to focus & ask Adams about the name he didn't give to he Gardai, he is deflecting to stay away from this! #StackMurder
— Austin Stack (@adstack68) December 6, 2016
And this was the highly precise premise of Martin’s broadside this afternoon.
…what happened in 2013 was, in itself, extraordinary. The leader of a parliamentary party in the House took two young men in a van with blacked out windows to an undisclosed location somewhere near the Border to meet an IRA man who told them:
“We have carried out an investigation. It was a senior IRA person who authorised the murder of your dad. We have disciplined him.”
It was not stated how he had been disciplined. The IRA stated it regretted what had happened, apologised and that that should be the end of the matter. Did Deputy Gerry Adams send the name of the person he had met with Mr. Stack’s sons to the Garda?
Deputy Gerry Adams says he took notes of the meeting and that the individual was a friend of his who knew what had happened.
Have the notes of the meeting with the individual in question who, 30 years after the murder, eventually acknowledged the IRA’s authorisation of the murder of Mr. Stack been sent to the Garda Commissioner?
It’s an oddly sticky situation for someone like Adams to find himself in, not least in the way handing those names he did provide to An Garda Siochana. Anthony McIntyre’s comments here are useful in regard to this context:
I can see, every way I look at this, Mr. Adams here has informed law enforcement on his colleagues in relation to IRA activity in the 1980’s and it is my view that he is trying to deflect much of the flak or responsibility by shifting responsibility for providing those names onto Austin Stack.
And what has, in fact, happened is Mr. Adams himself – because he was on the Army Council at the time Brian Stack was killed – Mr. Adams himself, having been on the Army Council, had probably known, after the event anyway, about the inquiry about, the discussion that must have taken place in the IRA at this time.
I mean he must have known about that and it may well be that he is talking on the basis of information that he gleaned as a member of the IRA because Austin Stack says he certainly told him nothing.
,,,the reason he gives was that he decided that it would be better not to allow people like Micheál Martin or Taoiseach Edna Kenny to criticise him on the grounds that he was withholding information [at a crucial election time].
I don’t think that’s a genuine excuse. I think there’s something beneath the surface, something more egregious, but I’m not in the position to work it out exactly why he did this at the particular time that he did.
Certainly, the naming of SF public reps to the Guards was odd, not least because one of whom the Guards themselves don’t believe had anything to do with the killing of Stack.
It leaves little supporting logic for not naming the former IRA man who was able to tell the brothers about the murder of their father and apologise.
If this reads strangely obsessive on the part of southerners, when Adams’ organisation killed many more individuals than they did in the south, it has much to do with the high esteem accorded servants of the Republic, particularly those on the front line.
When the Criminal Justice Act 1964 abolished capital punishment, the short list of exceptions headed by the murder of a member of the Garda Síochána or a prison officer “acting in the course of their duty”.
Martin makes clear in his response to the Taoiseach, he’s taking Adams to task for failing in his duty to his fellow citizens and to the lawful institutions of the state.
This is a murder. It is not about an election campaign or boxing clever in the middle of it. The Taoiseach said it: a man is at large. The Provos know who did it, but they are not being held accountable in this House and their parliamentary representatives are not being held accountable in it, yet they expect everyone else to be held accountable on every other issue concerning injustices perpetrated on many citizens on this island.
And there’s that small matter of signally failing to tell the Guards what he knows.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty