“Who benefits from the current debacle in the Dáil..?”

Who benefits from the current debacle in the Dáil? No-one. Certainly not victims of the conflict seeking truth and some closure to the deaths of their loved ones.

The Irish Times’ Michael O’Regan told Radio Kerry this morning that the Stack family are being used by opponents of Sinn Féin. He isn’t far off the mark.

An ad hoc process was set up between Austin Stack and Gerry Adams in 2013 to try and bring closure and acknowledgement to the Stack family. This culminated in the Stack brothers and Adams meeting with a former IRA leader to discuss the case.

This was perhaps not the wisest thing for Adams to have done if you’re looking at this in cold political terms. However, the Stack family did subsequently thank Adams for his role in that process.

As long as Adams leads Sinn Féin in the Dáil Fianna Fáil and others will always try to exploit these situations for their own political ends to eat into the softer Sinn Féin vote.

There are no winners here though. It won’t bring families of victims any closer to truth and closure.

Lets say Micheal Martin gets what he wants and the name of the former IRA leader is sent to the authorities. Will it lead to more information being given to the Stack family about their father’s death?

No. Will it lead to players involved in the conflict being less likely to come forward and give information that will lead to closure for other families? Yes.

In the absence of any significant progress on dealing with the past sometimes the only options open to families are ad hoc processes like this.

Whenever matters relating to the conflict have been played out in the Assembly Chamber or the Dáil chamber they have rarely been cordial and usually lead to acrimonious exchanges and slanging matches.

It’s an indictment on the governments and the political parties that we haven’t yet got processes in place to deal with the past effectively, to allow victims to get to the truth and encourage those involved in the conflict to come forward with information.

That is the real scandal.

  • Andrew Gallagher

    “An ad hoc process was set up between Austin Stack and Gerry Adams in 2013 to try and bring closure and acknowledgement to the Stack family. This culminated in the Stack brothers and Adams meeting with a former IRA leader to discuss the case.”

    The problem here, just like the problem in the Mairia Cahill and Jean McConville cases, is that it is not the place of Sinn Fein to set up ad hoc quasi-judicial processes.

    “This was perhaps not the wisest thing for Adams to have done if you’re looking at this in cold political terms. However, the Stack family did subsequently thank Adams for his role in that process.”

    And there the matter rested for several years. If Gerry had resisted the temptation to throw Austin Stack under the bus to deflect attention from his own information sources they might still be thanking him.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s not about partisan benefits, and I’m going to assume this is coming from a non-partisan place McKay. There is some desire to push this issue forward.

    We need to think of the justice that the Stacks need … it’s clear where the tribal dividing lines come up in the Dáil and Stormont on this matter, into pro-Adams and anti-Adams … but every party invested in this, on this island (and beyond) including Sinn Féin needs to think about the Stacks and the other victims here.

  • Blade Sprinter

    “… it is not the place of Sinn Fein to set up ad hoc quasi-judicial processes.”

    The Diplock courts and the SCC satisfy all the quasi-(in)judicial processes Ireland needs. In fact we could do with two less.

  • Daithí McKay

    I agree Kevin. Its one of those cases whereby there will be a lot of arguing in the media for a couple of weeks and then it will fizzle out again. So in itself the episode is of no value to the Stack family. Every party needs to think about victims but with parties poles apart this will remain a long arduous road for families.

  • Katyusha

    Nail on head, Daithi, especially regarding Fianna Fáil’s willingness to reduce the possibility that people will come forward with information for the sake of a short-term political attack on their opponents. Such was it ever.

  • Granni Trixie

    I disagree. You are overlooking that people in the South (and voters) do not have the same degree of experiences of Gerry and what the IRA have done therefore every time such incidents occur it chips away at that lack of knowing what they are really voting for.

  • Blade Sprinter

    SF are on 26% in the north and 16% in the south.

    Telling southerners what northerners know is going to have what outcome now?

  • Declan Doyle

    What tripe ! Honestly, are Free State voters thick in your view? Do u not think they might have noticed 30 years of anti-shinner propaganda?

  • Declan Doyle

    “The problem here, just like the problem in the Mairia Cahill and Jean McConville cases, is that it is not the place of Sinn Fein to set up ad hoc quasi-judicial processes.”

    So when the Stacks came to Adams and asked for help, what should he have said? Feck off?
    While that now looks like it might have been a better tack to take, at the time Gerry agreed to help them. In good faith. Now FF and Mehole Martin have not only destroyed hope for the Stack family but also wrecked the hope of many other victims. Well done eh?

  • AntrimGael

    Utter revisionist nonsense. The Southern electorate have NEVER had any problem voting for two Civil War parties who carried out some of the most brutal atrocities against each other that would today be classified as War Crimes. Ever heard of the Free State massacres of Republicans at Ballyseedy; Countess Bridge, Killarney; Cahirsiveen? Just to refresh your memory; in each of these massacres Free State troops strapped Republican prisoners to landmines, after shooting them in the legs so they couldn’t escape, and then blew them up. How does that fit in with your people in the South “not having the same degree of experiences”?

  • the rich get richer

    Who decides which cases gets the publicity .

    Lets see who is in favour of a Full Truth/Justice and hopefully some reconciliation process .

    There should be a vote in the Dail and Stormont to record who is actually in favour of such a process .

  • Tochais Siorai

    Except that was nearly a century ago whereas the Provos are within living memory for most of us still.

  • Roger

    Civil war was 94 years ago. Remind us, who is talking nonsense?

  • Blade Sprinter

    Who were the southern electorate voting for in the 20s and 30s?

    The southern electorate has a clear understanding of Sinn Fein. It’s just that Granni cannot handle the reality that her minority view finds even less acceptance south of the border.