Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein did not apologise to my family for tweet: Austin Stack

The son of a prison officer murdered by the IRA has said Sinn Fein did not apologise to his family for a "disgusting tweet".

Austin Stack - whose father prison officer Brian Stack was murdered in the Republic in 1983 - was responding to Sinn Fein's decision to suspend Senator Maire Devine after she retweeted a tweet calling IRA victim Brian Stack a "sadist".

Tweeting his response on Monday afternoon, Mr Stack wrote: "SF did not apologise to my family, suspending @mairedev for 12 wks & then welcoming her back is not acceptable, she must be expelled. @mairedev must follow the example of McElduff & resign form the Senate."

He earlier called for the party to expel Mrs Devine for the "disgusting tweet", and that "no apologies will be accepted" by him or his family for the retweet.

Senator Devine has been suspended from the party for a period of three months following what the party has described as “unacceptable twitter activity”.

Sinn Fein acknowledged that "this along with other tweets from Senator Devine have caused hurt to Mr Stack’s family."

Speaking on Monday after making a report to the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle, National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA said: “This is unacceptable behaviour from a Sinn Fein elected representative. 

“The Ard Chomhairle has suspended, with immediate effect, Senator Devine from party membership and all party activities for a period of three months.  The whip has been removed and Senator Devine will be outside of the Leinster House team for that period.

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

Victims' campaigner Ann Travers, whose sister was murdered by the Provos, also called on the Senator to step down.

"An Irish Senator retweeting a hate-filled tweet about a murdered Irish citizen deserves nothing less than expulsion from the Senate," Ms Travers tweeted.

On Monday Senator Devine apologised for the hurt caused by her 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," she said.

"I accept the decision by the party national chairperson to suspend my membership of Sinn Fein 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."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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