Varadkar adds to calls for Sinn Fein senator to quit

Brian Stack's son Austin has led the calls for Senator Devine to resign
Brian Stack's son Austin has led the calls for Senator Devine to resign

The taoiseach has joined those calling for Sinn Fein Senator Maire Devine to resign after she shared an offensive tweet about a prison officer murdered by the IRA.

Ms Devine was suspended by her party for three months after retweeting a post calling IRA victim Brian Stack a “sadist prison officer”.

Maire Devine was suspended by Sinn Fein for three months

Maire Devine was suspended by Sinn Fein for three months

Mr Stack’s son Austin, who led the calls for her to stand down, said: “I hope she will do the right thing but this is Sinn Fein and they don’t always do the right thing.”

Referring to Sinn Fein’s controversial social media posts regarding IRA victims, Mr Stack said: “I think they are trying to deliberately rewrite history and in my dad’s case do that by blackening his name.”

Mr Stack said since the fall out over the tweet he has received “strong support” from politicians in the Republic of Ireland.

In calling for Senator Devine’s resignation, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar accused Sinn Fein of continuing to “glorify violence”.

He said: “It does create a real concern that despite a change at the top in Sinn Fein, there hasn’t really been a change in attitudes and they still glorify violence and I find that very difficult.”

Referring to the Kingsmills video posted by Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said: “The fact it is the second time in a few short months where the victims of IRA violence have been traduced in that way is very worrying indeed and I certainly think the page turning that was supposed to be part of the new leadership of Sinn Fein I’m afraid is back to the same page, back to the same response and I think the mask has slipped again.”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin tweeted: “SF’s effort to spin Maire Devine’s Twitter activity as isolated incident isn’t convincing. Part of long standing strategy to impugn Brian Stack’s character. Contrary to ML McD’s claim on RTÉ, he wasn’t part of any conflict. He was Irish prison officer doing job we asked him to.”

SF national chairman Declan Kearney described the retweet as “unacceptable behaviour from a Sinn Fein elected representative”, adding that his party “strongly disapproves of what has happened”.

The SF senator offered an apology by way of a statement via her party, an apology which Mr Stack rejected as “insincere” given, he said, that she had ample opportunity to say sorry to him on Twitter at the time.

Brian Stack was chief prison officer in Portlaoise. He died of his injuries after being shot by the IRA in 1983.