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Shatter: IRA needs to cooperate with Garda investigation into prison officer killing

Gerry Adams confirmed earlier today that the IRA was responsible for the shooting dead of Brian Stack thirty years ago.

Image: Photocall Ireland

JUSTICE MINISTER ALAN Shatter has called for those with knowledge of the killing of Brian Stack to cooperate fully with the Garda investigation into the killing of the Portlaoise Prison officer.

It follows the confirmation today by Gerry Adams that the IRA was responsible for shooting him outside Dublin’s National Stadium in 1983. Stack died from his injuries more than a year later.

In a statement today, the Sinn Féin President said he had been working with the man’s sons, Austin and Oliver Stack, to seek answers to questions they have surrounding the killing of their father.

“Recently I accompanied Austin and Oliver to a meeting with a former IRA leader who had enquired into the events of March 1983,” he said.

He went onto say that the meeting confirmed that “the IRA was responsible for what occurred”.

On behalf of Sinn Féin I extend my regret at the killing of Brian. I hope that these recent developments will help them achieve the closure they have sought for 30 years.

The Stack family also revealed details of a statement issued by the former IRA leader they met with, confirming that IRA members acting under orders carried out the attack.

It said the leadership had not sanctioned this attack and upon becoming aware of it, the IRA “disciplined the members responsible for issuing the instruction”.

Austin and Oliver Stack, sons of Brian Stack, making a statement outside Leinster House today (Image: Niall Carson/PA)

The family also criticised the original investigation, which they said had been “seriously compromised”:

To add insult to injury, as a family we have become frustrated at what we can only describe as the uncooperative nature on the part of the current National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NCBI) investigation team. It is our view that the distinct lack of cooperation our family has experienced with the current NBCI team is directly linked to the unsettling aspects and major flaws uncovered in the original Garda investigation.

They said they chose to contact Adams for help in a bid to find answers, and called for the Garda Commissioner to meet with them directly to provide an update on the investigation.

In a statement tonight, Minister Shatter says that he met with the family back in May and that while he’s “aware of the frustration” they’re experiencing, that no-one should underestimate “the challenges faced by An Garda Síochána when persons will provide information to others but not cooperate with their inquiries”.

It should be clear to everyone that what is needed now is for anyone who has information about this case to face up to their responsibilities and cooperate fully with An Garda Síochána in their investigation, rather than hide behind platitudes about difficulties in addressing the past.

Shatter says that he hopes today’s developments represent progress for the Stack family “in their quest for the full truth behind the brutal killing”, but that “the stark reality is that the Provisional IRA not only carried out this brutal killing but have hidden their involvement in it for decades”.

The statement concludes: “It is a simple and tragic fact that the killing of Brian Stack was a callous and premeditated murder which cannot be justified or explained away”.

- additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy

Earlier: IRA was responsible for Portlaoise prison officer’s death >

More: Adams to meet with family of prison officer shot dead in Dublin >

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