The family of a police officer who was killed by the IRA have asked for a face-to-face meeting with his killers.

Brian Stack was shot in the back of the neck on March 25 1983 after leaving a boxing contest at Dublin's National Stadium. He worked as a chief prison officer at Portlaoise, which housed republican inmates.

The father-of-three was left paralyzed and brain-damaged after the attack. He died 18 months later at the age of 47.

Last week, Stack’s sons were driven in a blacked out van to an undisclosed location where a former member of the IRA admitted responsibility, the Irish Independent reports.

Austin and Oliver Stack were handed a statement typed up on an old typewriter.

It read: "This action was not authorised by the IRA leadership and for this reason the IRA denied any involvement."

It continued, "Some years later, when the Army Council discovered that its volunteers had shot Prison Officer Brian Stack, the volunteer responsible for the instruction was disciplined."

The statement said IRA killers were acting under orders.

"This operation should not have taken place," it states.

"While the IRA can no longer comment on this matter, let me express my sorrow for the pain and hurt your family suffered."

Brian Stack’s son Austin said the admission brought some closure to his family – but he says many question remain unanswered.

"I still want to meet face-to-face with my father's killer," he said.

"I would sit down with him and the first thing I would do, like I did with Gerry Adams, I would explain the effect this had on our family, the effect it had on us.

"I would ask him why he did it, how he feels now at this stage 30 years later, does he have a conscience, does he sleep well at night, those are the sort of questions I would ask him.

"I would actually sit down and have an open, frank discussion with him."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he wanted to pay tribute to Austin and Oliver, their brother Kieran and mother Sheila.

"On behalf of Sinn Fein I extend my regret at the killing of Brian," he said.

"I hope that these recent developments will help them achieve the closure they have sought for 30 years."