Victim slams Maze escape film at Cork jail

The Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.
The Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.

A Republic of Ireland IRA victim has demanded that the southern government block moves to make a film about the 1983 IRA Maze prison escapes at a Cork jail.

Austin Stack has now called on the southern Minister for Justice to overturn the decision by the Irish Prison Service to cooperate with and allow the recently vacated Cork prison to be used as the site to film a new movie which he believes glorifies the 1983 Maze escapes in Northern Ireland.

Irish prison officer Brian Stack, who was shot by the IRA in 1983

Irish prison officer Brian Stack, who was shot by the IRA in 1983

Mr Stack’s father was a Portlaoise prison officer who was shot in the neck by the IRA in 1983.

He said this week that he was left “sickened to the core and is horrified and disgusted that the Irish Prison Service would be involved in such a project”.

Commenting on the fact that one prison officer died during the Maze escape and that two others were shot and wounded, Mr Stack said that “no right thinking arm of the State should be involved in a project will essentially glorify the death of a prison officer”.

He added: “The Irish Prison Service is obviously content to allow the revictimisation of this Prison Officer’s family, we cannot allow this family to be traumatised all over again”.

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Mr Stack went on to claim that people involved in planning the escape were involved in the deaths of Private Patrick Kelly and recruit Garda Gary Sheehan three months later.

The use of Irish Prison Service property in the making of this film is “grossly insensitive to my family”, he said, adding that the Irish Prison Service is “cooperating with Sinn Féin/IRA in their bid to rewrite history”.

“It is now time that the Minister for Justice took charge of this situation and overturned the shameful decision of the Irish Prison Service to cooperate with the making of this film”.

He added that he is “in a state of shock that this vile project which glorifies those who murdered Prison Officers, Gardai and Defence Force personnel is receiving the full cooperation of the State while some of those who were murdered by the IRA while defending this State have received no recognition for this sacrifice”.

Campaign Group Innocent Victims United added its backing to Mr Stack’s call for the Irish Minister of Justice to intervene.

Spokesman Kenny Donaldson said: “We have today written to the RoI’s Minister of Justice to plead with her to do the right thing and step in to halt State acquiescence with a Project which will have the impact of glamorising terrorism. Those involved in the Maze Prison break were convicted terrorists and many of them once they escaped went on to commit further acts of terror against their neighbours; Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.

“The Justice Minister for RoI must do right by the Stack family and all other Prison Service Officers who have endured physical and psychological injury as a consequence of terrorism.”

TUV East Londonderry Assembly candidate Jordan Armstrong said the film is billed as “an exciting prison break story” which he said “hardly suggests that it will be a critical look at the actions of the criminals who shot a prison officer in the head”.

He added: “The Irish Prison Service’s decision to facilitate this film is all the more questionable when one remembers that the IRA shot one of their own officers - Brian Stack - in March 1983.”

The Irish Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs and Sinn Fein offered no comment.