Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald must expel senator, demands son of murdered Portlaoise Prison officer

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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sinn féin stack ira

Austin and Oliver Stack sons of murdered chief prison officer Brian Stack.

The son of murdered Portlaoise Chief Prison Officer, Brian Stack, wants Mary Lou McDonald to expel a Senator from Sinn Féin for a Tweet about his father. 

Senator Máire Devine was suspended from the party for three months following what the party has described as "unacceptable twitter activity" last night, March 18. She retweeted an offensive tweet in relation to Prison Officer Brian Stack who was killed by the IRA.  

But Austin Stack believes Deputy McDonald must go further and deliver on promises she made on becoming the party's new leader.

“There is no place in our democratic institutions for somebody who would support the views expressed in that Tweet and I am calling on Sinn Féin to take immediate action and expel her," he said in a statment.

Mr Stack said the new SF President promised fresh start and the such behaviour was in the past. However, he believes such actions are aimed at silencing IRA victims and are still the norm.

Senator Máire Devine has apologised for the tweet.

"It was never my intention to cause any distress or hurt, particularly to victims of the conflict. I want to offer my most sincere apologies to the family of the late Brian Stack.

"I accept the decision by the party national chairperson to suspend my membership of Sinn Féin for three months.

"I deeply regret what has happened, and want to profusely apologise for all the offence and hurt caused by my twitter activity," she said.

However, Mr Stack said that the tweet, which came from an anonymous account was retweeted by Senator Devine, was part of a campaign to 'blacken' his father’s name.

"Firstly they murdered him and now years later they are trying to justify that with these horrendous comments,” his statement said.

Mr Stack claimed Sen Devine had brought 'great shame' to the Oireachtas.

"What is particularly offensive about this is that not only did Senator Devine defame my father but then in a series of tweets she tried to justify her position & accused me of being sensitive,” he said.

Sinn Féin issued a statement confirming the suspension and quoted Ard Chomhairle, National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA.

“This is unacceptable behaviour from a Sinn Féin elected representative.  

“Sinn Féin strongly disapproves of what has happened.  There can be no excuse for the hurt and offence which has been caused to the Stack family,” he said.

Brian Stack was shot the Provisional IRA in 1983. He died 18 months later due to the injuries inflicted. He was the only officer in the Irish Prison Service to be killed in connection with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Stack family have campaigned since for justice. In 2013, Gerry Adams assisted in the setting up a meeting with Austin and his brother Oliver and senior IRA figures where it was finally confirmed that the terror group had shot Mr Stack.

Adams became embroiled in a huge political row in 2016 after it was claimed he knew the identity of the killers. He denied this.