Gerry Adams RTÉ Radio One News at One 20 January 2017

RTÉ Radio One
News at One

Conor Brophy (CB) speaks to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (GA) via telephone about Martin McGuinness’ retirement and today’s release of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA or Hart) report. (begins)

CB:   Sinn Féin is to name the person who will succeed Martin McGuinness as the party’s leader in The North on Monday next. Martin McGuinness announced his retirement from politics yesterday. Ill health means he’s not physically capable of continuing in his current role, he said, and will prevent him from contesting the upcoming Assembly elections. Well we’re joined now by Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams. Good Afternoon, Gerry Adams.

GA:  Good Afternoon, Conor.

CB:   You paid tribute yesterday to a man you described a ‘friend and comrade’ whom you first met over forty-five years ago behind the barricades in Free Derry. It’s a long time ago both in temporal and in political terms.

GA:  Yeah, before I deal with that, Conor, may I just welcome the publication of the historical abuse report. It’s a vindication of those who campaigned and those who gave evidence and I hope they have a sense of vindication today. Yes, forty-five years ago and the barricades were up in the Bogside and the Brandywell and the west bank of the Foyle I suppose and that’s the first time I met with Martin McGuinness and we have been on a journey since. Good comrades. Good friends. I think he’s been a remarkable leader, a remarkable and very, very decent human being and I value the role that he has played. And I know that he and Bernie are empowered and uplifted by the warm messages that have come to them and the best wishes for their good health so hopefully he will get the space to get better. And he’s not retiring, you know he’s stepped down from elected office but he intends to continue as best he can and hopefully in the fullness of health will be back with the rest of us moving forward against the Brexit consequences, facing up to the bad policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael but in the meantime making sure we get the best result by good negotiations out of this election in The North.

CB:  What happens between now and Monday?

GA:  Well, we’ve a big united Ireland conference in the Mansion House on the very day, on the very date, in the very place that the First Dáil met. We will make our – we will consult with our Ard Comhairle over the weekend and we will make the announcement, as I said earlier, of Martin’s successor. And I was making the point: You know, we’re not replacing Martin McGuinness because he’s irreplaceable but the new person coming into the job needs to be able to put his or her mark on that job within our general – you know, reconciliation towards unity, making the institutions work for everyone – we just have to give that new person a bit of a space and we’re blessed with a huge number of candidates who could do that job.

CB:  Such as?

GA:   Well I’m not gong to name names now but they’re all in the public arena and you know, we are a party which is in generational transition and it’s very, very good to have the benefit of a panel of people – older people down to people in their twenties and all the sort of ages in between with various talents and experiences – and right across the entire island of Ireland.

CB:  Yourself and Martin McGuinness have been inseparable over a long period of years now. Does his departure from active politics, if we can put it that way, give you pause for thought now about the timeline preceding, perhaps, your own departure?

GA:  Well Martin made it clear and I actually said this publicly last year that we are a party in transition and then that means a change of leadership. But I think one big announcement at the beginning of the year – and you know that wasn’t planned – Martin’s illness intruded and you know that’s the way life is at times – but we do have a plan and we will stick to that plan but it’s enough that we absorb Martin’s vacating of that office and get the very best person into that office and they’ll assist at making the election as sensible as possible and then get the political institutions back in place based upon the foundations which always should have guided them and that is equality, parity of esteem, treating people fairly, and moving forward in that direction.

CB:   Mary Lou McDonald said this morning: ‘All of us understand that we’re in transition’. She said: ‘Gerry hasn’t set a date’. Will you be setting one or will you set one now?

GA:    No, as I’ve said – one big announcement’s enough for anybody so that’s the only announcement you’re going to get at this time. We’ll return to this at some other time.

CB:   You mentioned at the outset your comments on the Hart Inquiry which says the Stormont Executive and the institutions who ran homes should offer a wholehearted and unconditional apology. Of course we have, realistically, no government in place now neither to issue an apology nor to deal with some of the pressing issues that may come out of that inquiry and survivors of abuse, victims of abuse, talking for instance, about the requirement for compensation.

GA:   Well we wanted to make an interim compensationry commitment to those victims some time ago – it was the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) who blocked that. You know, why are we into an election, Conor? Because half a billion pounds went down the drain amid allegations of corruption and fraud and because the minister who presided over that refused to countenance the type of proper inquiry or investigation which would have given the people the facts of all of that and that’s just not sustainable at all and that’s why we’re into an election at this point. Be sure – I know some of the victims. I’ve worked with them. I admire them. They have met all of our ministers, including Mary Lou McDonald and others in the Oireachtas, so we support them fully and that’s why I welcome so much the Hart report.

CB:  You have heard, for example, be that as it may, that the institutions have collapsed and wherever we ascribe blame for that, you have heard, for example, Margaret McGuckin, who helped set up Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, or SAVIA, and talking in recent weeks about her concerns about how long it will be before there’s a government in place to deal in practical terms with the findings of this inquiry and all these clouds hanging over the future of power-sharing now, if we’re into a period of direct rule realistically that’s not going to be a priority for Westminster.

GA:  Well that’s not countenanced and I know Margaret, I know her well and I have supported her and her campaign and Sinn Féin was the party which brought about this necessary historic abuse inquiry, that’s why I said in my earlier remarks – let’s have a decent election, that’s everybody – and this includes the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) – move forward, ask the people for their votes based upon those principles of the Good Friday Agreement and then get the institutions back in place – we don’t have any other notion of doing it in any other way except through the political institutions which were set up and then that issue, that urgent issue, will be dealt with along with many other urgent issues but I do have a particular affection for that campaign because I met some of the people and they weren’t believed and they were dismissed for decades and now they’ve had their vindication and now it’s up to us to ensure that the recommendations are acted upon.

CB:  And finally, Gerry Adams, if we can return to the issue of leadership and of Martin McGuinness’ departure from the scene at least in terms of active politics, obviously you’re not going to name names but what does a new leader need to possess? What attributes do they need to possess if they’re going to emulate Martin McGuinness’ example?

GA:  Well I just want to stress the point that Martin hasn’t retired. He has stood down from elected office if you like. He remains a member of our Ard Comhairle. I was in touch with him this morning. He’s regularly in touch with us across a range of issues but anybody coming in, as I said earlier I think, it’s not about replacing Martin McGuinness – he’s, he’s you know, a one-off. But what we are is to have somebody there that will show a generosity of spirit, to be totally committed to the notion of equality. Obviously, every Sinn Féiner, as you said, is an islander but we have to persuade the Unionists that that’s the way forward and also to be tough in terms of the way, at times, the governments are nonchalant about how they handle these issues, in particular the British government, doesn’t want to handle the issues of equality and fairness and so also the Irish government needs to be all the time briefed fully on what it needs to do in terms of keeping the British government right. So it’s a big challenge but we’re also a collective leadership. You know and Martin obviously brought his own personality and his own particular way and his say as to all of this but he would be the first to say that he was backed up by a team of Sinn Féin people at the Assembly, the people who worked, you know the Special Advisers (SpADs), both from within the civil service and particularly within Sinn Féin who worked with him, so we’d ensure that the person coming into that job has all that support.

CB:  Alright. We will wait and see how that leadership question will be resolved. Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin president, thank you. (ends)

Gerry Adams RTÉ This Week 11 December 2016

This Week
RTÉ Radio One
11 December 2016

Richard Crowley (RC) speaks to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (GA) about the fallout from the controversy over a leaked email and a senior IRA person in connection with the killing of prison officer Brian Stack in 1983.

RC:  First the fallout from the controversy over the killing by the IRA of prison officer Brian Stack in Dublin more than thirty years ago. The issue is back in the news over the leaking of an email sent by the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, to the Garda Commissioner earlier this year in which he included the names of four people, some said to be senior members of Sinn Féin, to whom the Gardaí should speak. But now the Stack Family, and others, want the Sinn Féin leader to reveal the name of the senior IRA man who met the Stack brothers in 2013 and who issued a statement on that occasion admitting that the IRA carried out the shooting, that it was unauthorised and that the person who ordered the shooting had been ‘disciplined’. Gerry Adams joins us from our Belfast studio. Good Afternoon.

GA:  Good Afternoon, Colm.

RC:   You made it very clear in your interview with Audrey Carville on Friday’s Morning Ireland that you don’t intend to reveal to the Gardaí the name of the IRA man that you took the Stack brothers to see. Have you spoken to this man since these latest developments?

GA:  No, I haven’t but let me contextualise this if I may this for your listeners: First of all let me say once again that Brian Stack should never have been killed. It was wrong. Second of all there have been three phases to this controversy. In the first instance when the Stack Family came to me and Austin and I put together a process and we concluded that process and Austin thanked me for that and I went on about my own work. Micheál Martin said nothing. Enda Kenny said nothing. And then three years later along comes the general election and in order to use this issue to damage Sinn Féin it was resurrected again…

RC:  …Alright, well…

GA:  …Sorry, I just want to finish my point…

RC:  …I know but in fairness, in fairness…

GA:  ….No. Let me finish my point, please…

RC:  …I know but in fairness…

GA:  …Please let me finish my point…

RC:  …Could you please answer, could you please answer some questions before…

GA:  …When you resist…

RC:  …you go back into what we’ve heard much about in the last number of days.

GA:  No. You have not interviewed me before. Let me finish my point. I could have finished it by now if you hadn’t interrupted me.

RC:  Go ahead.

GA:  The third time it came up – because the election ended, the issue abated. The third time it came up was when Micheál Martin again went into the chamber in Leinster House, two weeks in a trot, and raised this issue once again. It had no place in the Dáil chamber but what we’ve seen since actively undermines the Dáil, Micheál Martin does this as does the Taoiseach, undermines the integrity of their office and undermines agreements which they are party to.

RC:  Okay now, should you not talk to this IRA man, this man that you took the Stack brothers to meet? Should you not talk to him to see whether he’s willing to talk to Gardaí – to waive this confidentiality agreement that you had with him such as it is.

GA:  Well don’t say: ‘such as it is’. In the absence of any formal truth recovery process we put together a process. I gave commitments to the Stack Family which I kept to. I gave a commitment to the person who I brought them to meet which I intend to keep to as well. And if I could say furthermore…

RC:  …No, could you answer the question, please. Should you not talk to him now to see whether he’s willing to talk to Gardaí?

GA:  Well that’s a matter entirely for him. I don’t…

RC:  …No, no, no. It’s a matter for you to put it to him…

GA:  …Colm, please don’t go off on a tangent…

RC:  …And I’m sorry, it’s Richard.

GA:   Sorry, Richard.

RC:   But perhaps you should talk to him to see if he’s prepared to talk to Gardaí.  Why would you not do that?

GA:  Because I gave my word and I don’t intend – and it isn’t about me protecting anyone by the way – it’s about the integrity and the possibility of getting truth, in getting closure for all of those many families who are looking for it.

RC:  And this is a way to do that? You have said in the recent past that anybody who knows anything should come forward and that clearly has to include this individual. The question to you is: Why don’t you talk to him about volunteering to come forward and to talk to the Gardaí about what he knows?

GA:  Because I gave my word to the family and to him and indeed the family, when we met with him, the two brothers, reassured him that there would be no repercussions in any of this…

RC:  …I’m not asking you to reveal his name. I’m asking you…

GA:  …I’m sorry I have answered the question…

RC:  …No, you haven’t.

GA:  Yes, Richard, I have.

RC:  No. Why wouldn’t you ask him?

GA:  I have no intention of revisiting this part of that issue. Let me tell you something else…

RC:  …You don’t want to ask him to do that. Okay. Let’s leave that one there then.

GA:  Okay.

RC:  Why did you wait two years to give the names to the Gardaí?

GA:  Because I was accused at that time, which I had not been accused of before, of withholding information from the Gardaí. I was not accused of that previously.

RC:  Which is true. You were withholding the information from the Gardaí, weren’t you?

GA:  The information that I have is limited to what I was told by Austin Stack. I have no information whatsoever about who killed, who shot, who was part of the murder of Brian Stack and I made it clear in my email to the Gardai. And incidentally, I have since written to An Garda Siochána about once again information which I have given them ending up with…

RC:  …Sure. But doesn’t it…

GA:  …Sorry, please let me finish my point, Richard. ….ending up with an Irish Independent journalist. And apparently some journalists went round asking TDs to raise these issues in the chamber again the subverting the process in there. So what we need to do is this and I would like, if I possibly can, to make this point before the end of this interview…

RC:  …It would be great if you can answer a couple of questions first and here’s one: Austin Stack gave you those names in 2013. You did not pass them onto the Gardaí until 2016. Why the delay?

GA:  Because he said he got the names from the Gards and from journalistic sources and he said that the Gards knew of these names. Now I only, I was very clear in the course of the election campaign, gave the email to the Garda Commissioner in order to get rid of any ambiguity about the accusation made by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael spokespersons that I was withholding information. I never withheld any information whatsoever.

RC:  But, did Austin Stack not give you the names in 2013 on the understanding that they would be passed onto the Gardaí?

GA:  No, he didn’t. He gave me an order to try and talk to those people. That’s what he did.

RC:  And it looks, though, as if you simply did it at the last minute, three days before the general election, because you were under pressure from Fianna Fáil and you were trying to protect yourself politically. If the names were valid in 2016 they were surely valid in 2013.

GA:  Richard, you’re not listening to what I’m saying. I gave the names given to me by Austin Stack for precisely the reason which I outlined and which you have just repeated – that I was being accused of withholding information and I was not withholding information.

RC:   Alright.

GA:  The Gardaí, according to Austin Stack, had these names – he had given them to them. Now I just want to come to one point to put this in a more general context: The Stormont House Agreement was signed-off in 2014. And this is trying to deal, this part of the agreement, is trying to deal with this vexed issue of so-called legacy issues. And that put in place an international agreement – it was drafted, it was agreed and it was led at the Oireachtas in Westminster just in January of 2016. Now it hasn’t been worked on yet because the British continue to exercise a National Security veto but this includes a commission and an information retrieval process and what’s at the heart of it? That the information would be confidential, would be anonymous and would not be admissible as evidence of any legal proceeding. Our government signed up for that. The leader of Fianna Fáil signed up for that. They’ve just torn it up by the ridiculous play-acting, the ridiculous way they have used this dreadful murder to try and get me and at Sinn Féin.

RC:  Now, The Stacks say that you’re withholding information from a murder inquiry. Your defence is that you gave your word to a man who is a member of the illegal organisation which carried out the murder of their father. Now no detective would accept that. No judge would deem that permissible. You’re withholding information from a murder inquiry and no…

GA:  …What information am I withholding?

RC:  The information about the man’s name. The man you took The Stacks to meet.

GA:  Okay. You’re a journalist. Do you protect your sources?

RC:  Yes, I do.

GA:  Okay. The person who broke this story for The Independent refused to give the sources. Mattie McGrath, who says that he was lobbied by a journalist who named these names, says he won’t name the sources. The guy who behaved, I think, with the connivance of his own leadership, the Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, says he won’t reveal his sources. I’m about the more serious business of trying to make peace so I will protect my sources the same as they do.

RC:  Sure. Right. But you have the name of somebody who’s a member of the illegal organisation which carried out that murder and you believe that that agreement between you and him has a standing that in some way nullifies any investigation to be carried out by any detective by any police force, do you?

GA:  I’m prepared to cooperate with An Gardaí and I’ve been in touch with An Garda with that regard but this wasn’t just an agreement between me and one individual – this was myself and Austin Stack and I think Austin has acknowledged that we had a…

RC:  …He doesn’t have a problem with you naming this man.

GA:  Sorry, well I read in the papers this morning, if I read it properly, that he actually has named this person and there’s a person’s name that’s in the media and again The Independent newspaper…

RC:  …And this person has denied it. But again, this goes back to the first question. Why not give this person an opportunity to say what they know or don’t know about this?

GA:  …Well I’ve answered that question. Would you come back to the more important issue, which, I noticed in the Marian Finucane programme this morning, despite the usual begrudgery from some, that we were starting to get into a more sober conversation about how we plot a course forward for dealing with all of the issues affecting all of the victims…

RC:  …When did you…

GA:  …Sorry, sorry, sorry, Richard. Let me finish…

RC:  …Alright, but…

GA:  …I have just cited to you an agreement which is an international agreement…

RC:  …Yes…

GA:  …which is in the Oireachtas which is in the British House of Commons which took a huge amount of work to put in place and which our government is now in breach of. Now is that not something that we’d want to discuss?

RC:  It certainly is and it’s certainly one that we’d be most keen to discuss with government officials…

GA:  …Well discuss it with me as well because I was part of that agreement!

RC:  Certainly. And you’ve had your say on it now and as soon as we get the Justice Minister or the Taoiseach in here we’ll ask them about it. When did you find out that the IRA had killed Brian Stack?

GA:  Shortly before the meeting.

RC:  Not ’til then?

GA:  No.

RC:  And back in ’83 and ’84 when Mr. Stack was shot and subsequently died, clearly the killing of a prison officer in Dublin was a major event and under the IRA rule book this was a breach of your own rules. Surely you knew about it and knew that it was unauthorised at that time?

GA:  Well first of all they aren’t my rules. Second of all, because they were against the rules I didn’t think for a moment that there was any Republicans involved. And if you go back and listen to what Austin Stack said to me at the time that the family wanted to know: Was the IRA involved? They suspected the IRA may be involved. They also suspected it might have been the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army). There’s was some talk about criminal elements being involved. They actually told me, which I can understand, that that was causing an awful lot of angst for them.

RC:  Would you like to see the people behind the killing of Brian Stack being brought to justice in a court in the Republic?

GA:  I want to see everybody cooperating with An Garda Siochána. I accept again, as part of the Stormont House Agreement, and you would be advised to maybe inform your listeners about that, there is, as part of the number of processes for dealing with the past that includes, for those who want it, judicial processes, police investigations, coroner’s courts, historical investigations. We have…

RC:  …But this was an unauthorised killing by somebody within the IRA for which they were sanctioned. Is that covered then by that agreement?

GA:  You’re missing my point, Richard…

RC:  …But then you’re saying…

GA:  …We have signed up for a process which includes the right of those victims’ families who want it through court proceedings. We have signed up for it. How did you miss that, Richard?

RC:  So you would like to see the people behind the killing of Brian Stack brought to justice in a court in The Republic, would you?

GA:  I want to see all, all of the families, including the Stack Family, getting the type of closure they want, whether that means through courts, whether that means through truth recovery, whether that means acknowledgment or whether that means they just have the peace to get on with their lives.

RC:  What was the sanction imposed on this individual who carried out this or who ordered this unauthorised killing?

GA:  I don’t know.

RC:  Have you made attempts to find out?

GA:   No, I haven’t.

RC:  Why not?

GA:  Why would I? I’m not an investigative agency. I…

RC : …Is it not relevant?

GA:  It may well be but I’m not an investigative agency. I have learned over the years that if you don’t know you can’t tell. So I can tell you my focus was in getting this family what they asked for: Acknowledgment if the IRA was involved – an explanation of that.

RC:  So if the Stack Family asked you what was the sanction, or if you could find out what the sanction was, in that instance you’d find out? But if they don’t ask you don’t ask. Is that how it works?

GA:  By the way, see as far as I’m concerned on this case I delivered on this case. In 2013 we came to a conclusion on the process that I was involved in. I did my very best. I’m disappointed about the way that it has turned out. It’s clearly being used by the Fianna Fáil leader and by the Taoiseach and by others.

RC:  You’ve made that point.

GA:  Sorry, no I want to…

RC:  …You made that point.

GA:  …I want to make it again…

RC:  …But you’ve made that point.

GA:  So as far as I’m concerned, my involvement, I will go and talk to An Garda Siochána. I will…

RC:  …But you won’t continue…

GA:  I will continue to help to work with other families but as far as I’m concerned I have done my best. The Stack Family, contrary of their position in 2013, are accusing me of things of which I am not guilty.

RC:  Final quick question for you: Will the whole furore over this case prompt you to decline any further requests to help people looking for information about dead or missing family or relatives? And we know that there should be a proper process put in place but in the interim will you continue to operate this Ad Hoc process that you’ve been involved in for the last number of years of helping relatives looking for information?

GA:   I don’t know. I think it’s unlikely but I don’t know because when someone comes to you and they tell you their sad story, as one of that generation of Republicans who have survived the conflict, I do feel the duty to try and bring as much comfort, as much closure, as much truth as is possible but when it’s all reduced and subverted, as this has been by others who are trying to make party political capital out of it, then I think that subverts what those of us who actually work at this thing every single day of our lives – it makes it very difficult for us to do it. And I want to come back to the point once again if I may: It isn’t that there should be processes in place – there are processes in place.

RC:  But they’re not operating is the point.

GA:  Because the British government will not act on it and because our government will not act on it and because our government, by the way they’ve handled this case, have actively subverted an international agreement which they were privy and party to.

RC:  Alright…

GA:  …They should be upholding the rights of others…

RC:  …Okay, you’ve made that point. We have to leave it there…

GA:  …and they should stop making…

RC:  …We have to cut across you, Gerry, you’ve got…

GA: …party political (inaudible)…

RC:  Okay. You’ve made that point. Thank you very much indeed for talking to us, Gerry Adams. (ends)

Gerry Adams RTÉ Morning Ireland 9 December 2016

Morning Ireland
RTÉ Radio One
9 December 2016

Audrey Carville (AC) interviews Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (GA) about giving the authorities the name of the person who confirmed that Brian Stack was killed by the IRA.

AC:  Gerry Adams, Good Morning.

GA:  Good Morning, Audrey.

AC:  You’re embroiled in another controversy to do with The Troubles and the IRA’s actions. Do you know specifically who murdered Brian Stack?

GA:  No, I don’t. And let me say again that Brian Stack should never have been killed. He should never had been murdered. That shooting was wrong. I’ve been very, very clear about all of that. And let’s just you know rehearse very briefly, Audrey, what happened: The Stack Family came to me in 2013 and we put together a collaborative process to try and achieve what they wanted. And what did they want? They said they wanted to know if the IRA had killed their father. They wanted acknowledgment. They wanted closure. They said they didn’t want revenge. They were not interested in anyone going to jail. Austin expressed a wish to meet those who were involved and so on. He told me he was very engaged himself in restorative justice and he’d like to meet those responsible. And I told him that I thought it would be very unlikely that we would ever get him names. That if the IRA was involved that certainly, in the short term, I didn’t think that those responsible would meet with him but in the longer term God knows what was possible. And we worked out a process. The two of us sat down and put together a process that could have worked and it was based on confidentiality and trust. And I actually thought that I’d developed a good working relationship with Austin in the course of all of that. And I think he has acknowledged this confidentiality and the process that we put together.

AC:  And as far as you were concerned, after that meeting in 2013 with the man with whom you along with the Stack brothers met as far as you were concerned was that the end of the process?

GA:  Well that’s exactly what happened, Audrey. If you recall…

AC:  …But why then two years later, three years later, in 2016, why were you sending email to the Garda Commissioner containing names?

GA:  Well if you check out any of your records and let me just answer your question very directly: When we met the person involved as part of the process that we had agreed Austin actually reassured the person involved that he would keep his confidentiality that even if the Gards came to him that they wouldn’t be working with them. They were grateful. He put out a statement – now even though they got hard news – and I don’t want to minimise the fact that this is their Daddy who was shot and subsequently died as a result of the shooting, they put out a statement thanking me, saying that they had got more information than three Garda investigations and then as you said the process more or less ended at that point. And then what happened was three years later there was an election campaign and Micheál Martin and Fine Gael representatives then resurrected this issue and it was part of a negative election campaign led by Micheál Martin and some senior Fine Gael people against me and against the Sinn Féin party and the confidentiality agreement was thrown out.

AC:  …Okay, so clearly now…

GA:  …I was accused in the course of that. Sorry, sorry – just let me make this – I was accused in the course of that of withholding information from An Garda Siochána. The only information I had was that that was given to me by Austin Stack. And I didn’t see Prime Time but I have a note of it and I’m advised that Austin Stack had accused me of breaking the confidentiality…

AC:  …He did, yes…

GA:  …(crosstalk) of all of this because he said I gave names and disclosed things that were said at a meeting to An Garda Siochána…

AC:  …Okay…

GA:  …and all along he’s been denying that he gave me names and now clearly he accepts it.

AC:  But coming back to the point of the Stack Family whose father was murdered by the IRA: They clearly want justice. They’re clearly not satisfied with not knowing specifically who murdered their father and not being in a position to have any sort of meeting with that person or however they view justice. Now they said that the man you met in 2013 – you described him as a ‘trusted confidante’ – have you ever asked that man who specifically murdered Brian Stack?

GA:  No, I didn’t and let me say this…

AC:  …Why not?

GA:  …so bear with me. I asked that man to see if he could investigate, in the first instance, was the IRA involved at all. The first I got of what we were being told was when we met with him. The meeting with him was the one which was done – it wasn’t meeting with me – it was a meeting with the Stack brothers which I facilitated. Now, this is a really important point: When the election campaign passed this issue passed. That was a year ago. It’s only come up again and it’s only come up again because once again two weeks in a trot the Fianna Fáil leader has brought this issue into the floor of the Dáil chamber…

AC:  …Yes, but Austin and Oliver Stack…

GA:  …that is no place…

AC:  …and their other brother and their mother they remain and they want answers…

GA:  …Of course…

AC:  …and the man who met with them in…

GA:  …Of course they do but…

AC:  …Yes, but let me ask the question…

GA:  …Okay…

AC:  …The man who met with them in 2013 clearly knows who killed their father. You know that man. So are you going to give his name to the authorities so that they can interview him?

GA:  Well, I want to finish the point I was trying to make…

AC:  …No. It’s a very simple and direct question.

GA:  I’m going to answer your question, Audrey, please. The fact is this should not be a party political issue or part of the debate in Leinster House that we have seen…

AC:  ….Okay…

GA:  …over the last number of…

AC:  …you have made that point.

GA:  …Okay…

AC:  …You’ve made that point…

GA:  …and secondly…

AC:  …Yeah. Are you going to give that man’s name to the authorities?

GA:  Well let me answer that. Austin Stack says he knows the name. He says he’s given the name to An Garda Siochána. Now why on earth, when he was part of a process that he and I put together, which is more important than me, which is more important than the man that we met and which is more important, with respect, than any one single family – and I absolutely sympathise with the Stack Family. There are thousands of families…

AC:  …Yeah…

GA:  …who want a truth and reconciliation…

AC:  ….Gerry Adams…

GA:  …process (crosstalk)…

AC:  …will you give that man’s name – No, will you give that man’s name to the authorities?

GA:  I have set out in the Dáil why we should not, if we want a proper truth and reconciliation process, if we want to bring closure to all the families involved, that we have to honour commitments given…

AC:  …Yes…

GA:  …I gave a commitment to the Stack Family…

AC:  …Will you give that man’s name to the authorities, yes or no?

GA:  I’ve already pointed out to you, Audrey, and stated in the Dáil why we should not give these names and why we need – in order to get an integrity into a process which will bring relief and closure to all the families involved why we have to honour agreements made. I gave commitments to the Stack Family. I kept my commitments.

AC:  …Yes, so…

GA:  …I will continued to do that.

AC:  As an elected TD, as a member of the Oireachtas of this state, you are saying that while you may have information on a crime you are not going to pass that information to the authorities.

GA:  No, I’m not saying. I don’t have information on a crime.

AC:  You know the man who knows who killed Brian Stack.

GA:  Well sorry, the, the – Austin Stack has said that the individual we met told us he met the perpetrators. He didn’t tell us that. Austin Stack also said he told us that they were alive. He didn’t tell us that, either. What he told us was contained in a typed statement which was given to the Stack brothers which they then wrote down and they then asked him a number of questions and all of that – I took very little part in the discussion at all. And they then released…

AC:  …No, but you know the person who knows who killed Brian Stack and you’re saying this morning that you’re not going to give that person’s name to the authorities.

GA:  Audrey, you didn’t hear what I said. He never said he knew who killed Brian Stack. He said, which he had been asked to do, that he had information that the IRA was involved and then he explained that and that is a matter of public record. Now let me come round to this point…

AC:  …No, he also said, he also said that that person was disciplined.

GA:  Yes.

AC:  How was he disciplined?

GA:  I don’t know.

AC:  Was he shot?

GA:  I don’t – well if I don’t know I don’t know – but let me come round to this point…

AC:  ….I mean did you not ask questions of this?

GA:  No, I didn’t. Because the job that I had to do was to bring closure to this family on a very specific brief which they had given me and which I delivered for them and I’ve done this with other families in the past. Now, if we come round to all of this and the way it’s being handled now, and bear in mind there is no truth and reconciliation process in place, despite commitments from the two governments, despite obligations on our Taoiseach and on successive British Prime Ministers there’s still not a process in place. How on earth are we going to get such a process in place if it becomes – and if this awful killing of this man, like all of the others, becomes a subject of a political point-scoring that’s ongoing…

AC:  …But Gerry Adams…

GA:  …how on earth can you break commitments that were given? How on earth if we break confidential processes are we going to get to the end of the road for all of the families who’ve been bereaved or have injured loved ones? How are we going to do it?

AC:  …But Gerry Adams, how on earth can there be any truth process when most people believe that you cannot tell the truth about this?

GA:  Well, I have told the truth about this and incidentally, in all that I have done in relation to these issues, I helped with the Smithwick investigation, I’m still working on the issue of trying to return the bodies of the ‘disappeared’ …

AC:  …But Gerry Adams you have denied…

GA:  …I have been working – sorry, sorry, sorry – but Martin McGuinness…

AC:  …just let me finish…

GA:  …and others…

AC:  …let me finish…

GA:  …and that has to be our focus in this case.

AC:  Yes. But you have denied being in the IRA. You have denied that the IRA robbed the Northern Bank. You denied the IRA murdered Detective Garda Jerry McCabe. You denied the Colombia Three were training FARC. You denied Máiría Cahill and Paudie McGahon’s claims. How can you ask of others what you’re not prepared to do yourself?

GA:  Well first of all I am prepared and I’ve said this very publicly – and there is a huge difference between the atmosphere and the acoustics around this issue in this part of the island and in the other part of the island. I have said quite publicly, and Martin McGuinness has said quite publicly and we have put forward propositions and ideas and proposals because our generation of Republicans, who have survived the conflict, want to bring to an end to those families who are still seeking truth and that’s our commitment. And I said I would cooperate with any process and I think the proof of that, Audrey, if you’re looking for the proof is: Did I deliver for the Stack Family in terms of what they asked me to do?

AC:  …Okay…

GA:  …They said, not me, that they thanked me for what I had done in 2013. That was three years ago. The issue was only resurrected in the midst of an election campaign and the issue is only resurrected now because the Fianna Fáil leader and the Taoiseach are politically point-scoring on this issue…

AC:  …Okay…

GA:  …while they, they – sorry – while they have failed to put forward the type of process that would bring closure to all of the families who need closure…

AC:  …Thank you…

GA:  …Are they still committed to doing that?…

AC:  Thank you very much…

GA:  …Thank you, Audrey…

AC:  …Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin. (ends)

Gerry Adams LMFM Radio The Michael Reade Show 1 December 2016

The Michael Reade Show
LMFM Radio
Co. Louth

Michael Reade (MR) speaks to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (GA) via telephone from Havana, Cuba about Fidel Castro and the controversy caused by an email he sent to the Garda Commissioner concerning Portlaoise Prison Officer Brian Stack’s death. (begins time stamp ~15:16)

MR:   We’ll go to Havana now where the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is attending the funeral of Fidel Castro.

GA:   Well I’ve been in Cuba a number of times and you know as a young man, I suppose no more than yourself, I was caught up in my imagination with the events here away back in the ’60’s when the people of Cuba fought for and got their freedom. And then as the struggle there developed – how they sought to tackle poverty, illiteracy and other social issues. So, I know there are flaws here. I actually – when I met with Fidel some time ago I raised issues of human rights and civil liberties and religious liberties and political prisoners and so on. So you know, I do the same with US presidents when I have the opportunity to talk to them and Sinn Féin’s position is very consistent in this regard. So I’m very honoured to be here to represent Sinn Féin. I won’t be here for all of the funeral ceremonies. The international dimension of this was last night and I’m sure that the good people of Louth and Meath East will be pleased that they at least were represented here. I think it was remiss of the government not to send a member of the government; I understand the ambassador from this region was here but Fidel, I think, was a good friend of Ireland. He stood by the hunger strikers of 1981, the women in Armagh, the men who died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and he spoke out, more so than any other Irish Taoiseach, and he also advocated for an end to partition and for the island to be united and for us to be left to shape out our own affairs.

He was an internationalist. They sent thousands of medical doctors and nurses and health workers to all parts of the world. The health system here is free. They have been subject to a cruel blockade for over fifty years but despite that they’ve kept going. Education is par excellence – it’s free also. And the population here are hugely educated and again, they have went into Latin America and Africa. And you wouldn’t have the issues that we have in Our Lady of Lourdes, at any of the hospitals here, and I’ve visited the hospitals here and structurally they’re dilapidated affairs because of the blockade – you know, all sorts of normal supplies are denied the people here but the health service itself has been very – and actually when I was MP for West Belfast we sent at least one young person suffering from cancer to Cuba to be treated. So they’re very open, very generous, very welcoming of visitors and prepared to reach out and to help other people in need.

MR:   Indeed. As I understand it the Cuban healthcare system is the envy of the world or should be the envy of the world because with relatively no funding they have a model for all of us to aspire to based on the logic of prevention is better than cure and primary care centres practically on every street corner in the country. But what are people saying to you about Castro because, as I said, he’s remembered in many different ways in many different places but in Havana is he remembered as a despot, a dictator or as a social revolutionary?

GA:   Well I’ll tell you what it’s like, Michael, it’s like some very elderly member of your family who’s held in affection dies – and even though you may be expecting the death there’s still a sense of sadness. Now, I’ve been here a few times and when I was at the event last night and the locals, they estimate about a million people turned out at the event last night – so even those who might disagree with Fidel respect him but the most of them, and it was very obvious last night as they showed a brief video run-through from 1959, when they stood against the old dictatorship, you know, a ragged grouping of revolutionaries, to the point through all the twists and turns through the big crises under the Kennedy administration in the ’60’s with Khrushchev right through – you know they sent an expeditionary force to Namibia, which was under threat by the racist apartheid regime of South Africa, they stood by people there. But I suppose the sense of pride that you know – people are flown in here, free of charge by the Cuban authorities – this is a poor country – free of charge to get cataract operations from Latin America. There are still teachers, doctors, nurses freely being sent to poor places in Latin America and also in Africa. I mean they would send people to us if they would be welcomed by those who run and are making a mess of our own health services. So there’s a great sense of pride. Also, no more than ourselves – like we’re a small island with a powerful neighbor who hasn’t treated us well – they’re a small island with a powerful neighbor which hasn’t treated them well and I welcome very much the rapprochement that President Obama and Raul Castro have ushered in and I hope that continues on to the new president. Obviously, our big focus is on our own cause when we’re here but it’s what’s recollecting also that Raul Castro played a key facilitating role in the Colombian peace process and Sinn Féin were first and foremost there. I spoke with the negotiators here last year. Martin McGuinness has met with the president of Colombia on a number of times. We’ve sent a range of people from Martina Anderson, Jennifer McCann, Gerry Kelly and others into Colombia to advise the FARC and to advise the Colombian government. So Cuba, in terms of peace-making in its own region, has been showing great leadership.

MR:  Gerry Adams speaking to me from Havana where he’s attending the funeral of Fidel Castro. Now that’s just part of a much longer conversation that I had with the Sinn Féin president. I did spend some time talking to him about the controversy that’s been raging here at home about an email that he sent to the Garda Commissioner in relation to the shooting of Portlaoise Prison Officer Brian Stack in 1983 outside of the National Stadium on the South Circular Road in Dublin and how in that correspondence to the Garda Commissioner he named four people who he said may have information in relation to the shooting and to the subsequent death eighteen months later of Mr. Stack and how it has been claimed by Gerry Adams that those names were given to him by Brian Stack’s son, Austin Stack, and how Austin Stack is contradicting that claim and saying he never gave any names to Gerry Adams. We’ll hear the response to all of that in the second hour of the programme. (pauses time stamp ~ 23:38) (resumes time stamp ~ 42:35)

MR:  On Monday the Irish Independent reported that Gerry Adams wrote to the Garda Commissioner naming four individuals who he said may have information about the killing of Brian Stack in 1983. Now this has dominated the political agenda since taking most of the time in the Dáil during leaders’ questions on Tuesday and many people asking for answers to questions predominantly relating to how Gerry Adams got these names. Gerry Adams, as you heard earlier in the programme, is in Cuba attending the funeral of Fidel Castro but he has said that he received these names from the son of the Portlaoise Prison officer, Austin Stack. Austin Stack says he didn’t give any names to Gerry Adams.

GA:  I’m playing catch-up on some of this. I haven’t seen any of the news reports at first-hand. I’m, as you know, in Havana at the moment for Fidel Castro’s funeral. But from what I have picked up I have to say I’m very disappointed. I went out to try and help the Stack Family at the time. They did suffer a grievous injustice. I did my best and they thanked me for my endeavours at the time. In the course of my discussions – and I met Austin Stack quite a few times, both on his own and with his brother, Oliver – and in the course of those discussions he told me that he had been given some names of people who may be able to help, who may have been involved. He had no independent information to support this and he said he would like to meet with these people. So in the course of my endeavours to help the family I contacted, I couldn’t contact all of the people, but I contacted three of them and they denied having anything to do with the shooting of Brian Stack, Austin’s father, and they declined to speak to him at that time. Now you will recall that it was a matter, this was during the election campaign, a matter of some public controversy at that time.

Also in the course of all of that a former senior IRA Volunteer who had carried out an investigation into all of this met with the Stack brothers, apologised for the shooting of their father, said it had not been authorised by the IRA leadership at that time. I explained how difficult it was to get all of this necessary information because by that stage the IRA had left the field and was no longer intact and people had gone their own ways and some people had died and so on and so forth but he acknowledged that a senior IRA person had authorised the shooting, apologised for that and said that that person had been subsequently disciplined and he put on record his regrets and all of that became a matter of public news in and around the time. Now, I also, in the course of – now I’m not too sure of the sequence – I don’t have my notes with me – sent the names which Austin Stack had given me to the Garda Commissioner. I don’t know how that email has got into the public media, and indeed, are there any questions being asked about that at this time? I understand that Micheál Martin, in his usual opportunistic way, made some remarks about this in the Dáil. So that’s that, at this distance, a very brief account of what occurred. It is a matter of regret for me that this unfortunate man was shot and his family have suffered as they have and I said that then and I’m saying it again now. It’s also a matter of disappointment that these matters have taken the twist that they have taken.

MR:  But you can confirm to us that you did write by email to the Garda Commissioner naming four individuals who may have information that may help with the investigation into the murder of Brian Stack?

GA:  Yes. I felt I was obliged to give this information – I have no way of verifying it and I certainly have no additional or other information but I thought…

MR:  …And can you tell us, Mr. Adams, can you tell us when those names were first made known to you?

GA:  In the course of discussions with Austin Stack, and I’m not sure exactly the sequence or the time frame, and as I said I don’t have me notes with me now, but in the course of those discussions – now in fairness to Austin Stack he was looking to meet with these folks and he wasn’t making any – neither could he – make any definitive or claims other than that he had been told by Garda sources and by some journalists that these people may be able to help with his inquiries.

MR:  Okay, but tell us: You wrote to the Garda Commissioner in February, just before the election, and there are suggestions that you had this information in 2013.

GA:  No, I didn’t have any information at all on this particular case until I met with the Stack brothers and then subsequently, and it was some time afterwards – this took quite a long time to get any sort of an explanation from Republican sources, so my first information – this was from the Stack Family themselves – and then my second, more clear position, when I facilitated the meeting between the Stack brothers and the person who had previously been in a senior position in the IRA.

MR:  Micheál Martin wanted to know why you would have felt confident to pass on the names of suspects in the case. Is he correct? Were these people suspects? Or are they suspects?

GA:  Well I don’t know. Why wouldn’t I pass the names on? It seems to me quite ridiculous if I hadn’t had pass the names on then Micheál Martin would have something to crib about. The fact is it isn’t for me to judge. These people clearly have their rights and have, as I’ve said, denied that (inaudible) denied any involvement in this and for that reason I have no independent reason to doubt what they are saying so I don’t know where Micheál Martin is coming from except that this is another opportunity for him to have a go at Sinn Féin and me in particular. As I said, if I hadn’t passed the information onto the Garda then he would have something to complain about.

MR:  Because two of them are said to be sitting TDs and the question is: Were election candidates who were also murder suspects permissible as candidates in the eyes of the Sinn Féin leadership?

GA:  Well we don’t know if they are murder suspects at all, at all. What we do know is that Austin Stack wanted to talk to some of those people to see if they could help – that was his request to me. If you go back to, and again I’m saying this from recollection without notes, but if you go back to the first engagement with Austin Stack what he wanted was closure, as much information as possible and that there had been various rumours about who had been responsible from gangsters, criminal elements, some talk about INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) elements and also some talk that the IRA had been involved and the family didn’t know so at least they got the truth of the matter which was: Yes. Republicans shot their father. No. It was not authorised by the IRA leadership at that time but yes, a senior IRA person had taken that decision and that he was disciplined.

MR:  You said, Mr. Adams, that you spoke to three of the four people you named in this email. The Irish Independent says two of them are TDs, they’ve seen the email and it says that one of the TDs claims that you didn’t consult with him before sending that email. Is that correct?

GA:  No, that’s not correct.

MR:  Can you tell us if the TDs who you named in that email were members of the IRA at any stage?

GA:  Well first of all I’m not making any comment at all on the names of the people involved. That’s not my business to point the finger…(crosstalk) (inaudible)

MR:  …But there’s a lot of speculation as to who was involved since this news broke and, obviously, that would shorten the list.

GA:  Well, that may be but that’s up to the Gardaí. That’s not up to me, or Micheál Martin for that matter, or anyone else. That’s up to the Gardaí

MR:  Did you consult with anybody else before sending the email?

GA:  I don’t understand the question.

MR:  Did anybody else see the email or was anybody else aware of the contents of the email before you wrote to the Garda Commissioner?

GA:  It was sent from my office so I presume whoever typed it may have, well obviously, knew what was in it but you know – those whose names I was passing onto the Gardaí were notified of that – those I had contact with. Remember, I didn’t have contact with all those people.

MR:  Have you any suspicion as to how this email ended up in the sight of the Irish Independent?

GA:  Michael, I work quite closely with An Garda Siochána. I have passed information on to them over the years about criminal activity along the border. I have given them the names of those who have been suspected of being involved. I’ve given them other information – that’s my duty as both a citizen and as a public servant. I’ve had to make formal complaints because some of that information at different times was leaked, in my view quite maliciously, to sections of the media who would be very hostile to the Sinn Féin endeavour. I continue to work with the Garda, particularly in Dundalk and in North Louth, I have a number of issues that I have brought to their attention about other cases which I’ve also asked G-Soc to inquire into so – that’s my responsibility, that’s my duty, that’s my obligation and I will continue as best I can to do that.

MR:  Will you ask for this to be investigated? I mean it seems quite plausible to think that the Commissioner or somebody working for the Commissioner leaked this to the media.

GA:  Well, I wouldn’t think the Commissioner did but look – there are difficulties here as there are in different parts of Ireland with internet and other media -so I’m playing very much catch-up. I haven’t seen any of the items that you have talked about, any of the news items or the other pieces of (inaudible). I’m reliant upon just verbal briefings from my own office and while I’m sure that’s accurate I will wait until I get back. But it is a matter of concern that an email which was sent by me should end up with a section of the media. There is an ongoing investigation and at the very, very least one would suppose that that could be prejudiced by the type of reckless public commentary there has been on this by some opponents of Sinn Féin.

MR:  Undoubtedly lots of people will be listening to your comments here to us today, Gerry Adams, including Austin Stack, who said he didn’t give you these names. You say he did. Can you explain the contradictory statements?

GA:  No, I can’t. I have a very clear recollection. As I’ve said I’m disappointed that Austin is taking up the position that he has taken up but I’m very, very clear in my recollection of all of this.

MR:  Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin president, speaking to me from Havana yesterday afternoon. (ends time stamp ~ 57:20)