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Police to quiz IRA suspect in Spain over prison officer Brian Stack's murder three decades ago

By Tom Brady

Published 11/05/2015

Prison officer Brian Stack’s widow Sheila at the unveiling of a bronze bust of her murdered husband at the Republic’s Prison Service College in Portlaoise in 2013
Prison officer Brian Stack’s widow Sheila at the unveiling of a bronze bust of her murdered husband at the Republic’s Prison Service College in Portlaoise in 2013

Garda detectives have travelled to Spain to interview an IRA man from Belfast they believe ordered the murder of Irish prison officer Brian Stack more than 30 years ago.

Mr Stack (47) was the only prison officer in the Republic murdered by the IRA during the Troubles.

He was shot in the neck in March 1983 outside a stadium in Dublin after attending a boxing contest and died 18 months later.

The Provisional IRA consistently denied it was responsible and over the years blamed it on a "rogue" unit, although this was dismissed by police.

After Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams met members of Mr Stack's family along with a former IRA commander in 2013, the IRA issued a statement admitting it was responsible.

Fresh inquiries by a special team of detectives from the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation have since made considerable progress towards establishing the identity of those believed to have been involved in the murder plot.

Two Irish detectives flew to Spain and, with the co-operation of local police, interviewed the suspect at his current home outside Alicante.

The man, who is from Belfast but had been living in south Dublin before moving to Spain several years ago, is regarded as being in charge of the IRA's so-called southern command at the time Mr Stack was shot dead.

He is also suspected of being responsible for giving the go-ahead to members of an IRA Munster-based unit, who shot dead Det Garda Jerry McCabe during a botched raid on a postal van in Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996.

Gardai believe Mr Stack was murdered by terrorists from a Dublin-based unit, which included IRA members from Northern Ireland.

Mr Stack was a chief officer at the top-security prison, housing IRA inmates, in Portlaoise and regularly reviewed internal arrangements there to prevent a terrorist jailbreak.

On the night of March 25, 1983, he had left the National Stadium and was walking across the South Circular Road in Dublin towards his car when a gunman ran up behind him and shot him in the neck.

Mr Stack was left paralysed and brain-damaged after the shooting and died from his injuries in September 1984.

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