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Sinn Féin senator who retweeted post calling IRA victim a 'sadist' makes 'sincere apology' in Seanad

Máire Devine has been suspended from Sinn Féin over her tweets about the late Brian Stack.

Máire Devine had initially defended retweeting the post.
Máire Devine had initially defended retweeting the post.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

SINN FÉIN SENATOR Máire Devine has apologised in the Seanad for comments she made on Twitter about a prison officer killed by the IRA in the 1980s.

On 18 March, Devine had retweeted a tweet from a parody government account which referred to Brian Stack as a “sadist”.

Prior to apologising for the retweet, Devine sent follow-up tweets that appeared to accuse Brian Stack’s son Austin of being overly-sensitive about the issue.

She was subsequently suspended from Sinn Féin for a period of three months, and party leader Mary Lou McDonald described her actions as “entirely unacceptable”.

Austin Stack, who along his brother Ollie has led a campaign to find out who killed their father, called for Devine to resign her position as Senator over the affair.

Speaking in the Seanad today, Devine said she wanted to issue an unreserved apology to the Stack family.

If you can’t view the video, click here

She said: “On Sunday 18 March, I retweeted what I thought to be a genuine tweet without reading the full content of that tweet.

A number of follow-up tweets from me were wholly inappropriate, and I deeply regret that.
I want to apologise for any and all offence and hurt caused from my Twitter activity. It was never my intention to cause any more hurt to those in deep distress. I want to put on record my most sincere apologies to the family of the late Brian Stack.

‘Great shame’

Austin Stack said in a press release the day after the tweets that “great shame” had been brought on the Oireachtas by Devine “particularly as my dad was awarded a bravery medal for defending this State”.

The case of his father was mentioned in the Dáil several times in late 2016, when Gerry Adams faced calls to identify the ex-IRA leader who met with Austin Stack to give him information.

Adams facilitated the meeting in 2013 when he and Stack were taken in a blacked-out van to meet the former IRA leader.

The man told Stack that the perpetrators of the attack were still alive and that one of them had been disciplined.

No-one has ever been convicted over the attack, and Stack eventually approached Adams as part of his family’s search for answers.

Stack said the man had he had been taken to meet told him his father’s murder wasn’t sanctioned by the IRA leadership.

With reporting from Daragh Brophy

Read: McDonald: Sinn Féin Senator’s suspension for ‘unacceptable’ retweet is a ‘severe’ punishment

Read: Mary Lou says senator who retweeted post calling IRA victim a ‘sadist’ made ‘catastrophic error’

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Sean Murray

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