Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams can't 'seek the truth' while at the same time protect his sources

By Kevin Doyle

For more than 30 years, the IRA tried to show that the British Government could not rule Ireland on its own terms.

They brought murder and mayhem into the lives of ordinary people.

Gerry Adams has said over the past few days that everything has to be viewed in the "context" of The Troubles. He has tried to use the peace process as a security blanket while ignoring other parts of this story.

There is no hierarchy of victim. Each has their own unique backstory, whether they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, got mixed up with the wrong people or actively went out to take part in a terrorist campaign.

Brian Stack's story is that he was a prison officer in Portlaoise, an employee of the Irish State and a very dedicated one at that. His family are hurting. They began a journey in 2013 hoping to find some comfort, some closure and as much truth as is possible.

They know the time, the place. They know why. But the big remaining question is 'who'?

Gerry Adams helped them get some of the answers, but won't finish the job.

"As far as I'm concerned in this case, I delivered," he said yesterday.

"In 2013 we came to a conclusion on the process 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 Fail leader and the Taoiseach and others," the Sinn Fein leader said.

It was his latest scattergun tactic to deflect away from one key question. Why won't he give over the name of the IRA figure who investigated the Stack murder?

Repeatedly over the years, Mr Adams has 'urged' his republican counterparts to co-operate with Garda inquiries into murder and sexual abuse.

Mr Adams said he tried to help the Stack family. They feel he failed and have now turned to other political leaders. That doesn't suit Sinn Fein's agenda.

The political wing of the IRA are out to disrupt politics, the media and - in this case it would seem - the policing of the Irish State.

In one breath Gerry Adams says he wants "to see everybody co-operating with An Garda Siochana".

In the next, he refuses point blank to commit to revealing the identity of a trusted comrade who has information that directly impacts on a live murder investigation.

The two positions are not sustainable when a killer is on the loose.

In the most bizarre part of an interview Mr Adams did on RTE radio yesterday, he compared his 'work' to that of journalists.

He argued that reporters are allowed to protect their sources "so I will protect my sources, the same way they do".

Journalists chase stories, chase truth and, despite what Mr Adams might think, chase context. We are in the business of exposing terror bosses, not protecting them.

It makes you wonder whether Mr Adams is nobly protecting his source, or as seems more likely, protecting himself.

If he were to break the code of Omerta, would others follow, and what would that mean for his decades of rewriting history?

You do have to factor in the real possibility that by turning 'tout', the Sinn Fein president might be putting his own safety at risk. That could be a real concern and a very reasonable one.

"I'm not an investigative agency. I have learned over the years that if you don't know, you can't tell," he said.

In other words, see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. But it's too late for that. Gerry Adams carried out an investigation. At the request of the Stack family, he asked an IRA figure to find out what happened to their father.

As a politician and a legislator, he cannot simply wash his hands of that now. Nobody disputes the fact that somebody is getting away with murder.

Mr Adams may not know who pulled the trigger, but he can help the legitimate investigative agency of the Irish State so that they might after 33 years find out.

Or else he needs to stop saying things like: "I do feel a duty to try and bring as much comfort, as much closure, as much truth as it's possible."

Irish Independent


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