Gerry Adams has told the Garda chief that a senior Northern Ireland politician from his own party is a suspect in the murder of an Irish prison officer.
The Sinn Fein president emailed Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan four names in February in connection with the murder of senior Portlaoise prison officer Brian Stack in 1983.
Three of them are prominent Sinn Fein politicians and the third is a senior IRA figure from the south.
Mr Adams said in his email that the four names had been supplied to him by Mr Stack’s son, Austin.
However Garda showed the email to Austin Stack last week, who has now gone public to strongly reject the claim that he passed any information to the Sinn Fein leader.
Mr Stack said that Mr Adams’ email names four suspects, one of whom is a Northern Ireland politician.
The email claims Mr Adams received the names from Mr Stack, claims which Mr Stack rejects as “untruthful in the extreme”.
But Mr Stack said it is “beyond incredible” for the leader of any political party to name three of his own colleagues as murder suspects. Asked why he thought Mr Adams might accuse three members of his own party, he suggested that they “may have fallen out of favour”.
He added that Mr Adams has “deliberately given false and misleading information to a murder inquiry and in doing so he could be charged with trying to subvert the course of justice”.
However a Sinn Fein spokesperson insisted again that Mr Stack had provided the names. “This issue was dealt with at the time of the election,” Sinn Fein said.
“Gerry Adams made clear that he had received these allegations from Austin Stack. Mr Adams subsequently passed on Mr Stacks allegations to the Garda. Any investigation is a matter for An Garda Siochana.”
Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson said nobody should find Mr Adams’ claims surprising given that “upwards on 50% of Sin Fein’s MLAs are convicted members of the IRA”.
He added: “These latest developments will raise tensions within Sinn Fein – there is no honour amongst criminals.”