Irish Examiner

McCabe widow ‘ambushed’ by moves to free killers

03 December 2004
By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid West Correspondent

THE widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe yesterday said she could not see any purpose in meeting Government representatives.

This follows the Taoiseach’s disclosure that the early release of her husband’s killers was part of the Northern peace talks.

Ann McCabe said she had heard about Bertie Ahern’s decision on the radio.

“I have no problem meeting the Taoiseach or ministers, but for what?

“They have said what they have said through the media and not to me. I can’t see any purpose of a meeting if that is the decision they have come to.”

She told the Irish Examiner she had been “ambushed” by yesterday’s Dáil announcement.

“I was driving to a friend’s house when I heard it on the radio. We were left out of it,” she said.

She produced a letter from Justice Minister Michael McDowell which told her: “I want to reiterate my assurance to you that if it had ever been necessary to deal with the issue of releasing the prisoners or if it ever becomes necessary to do so in the future, it would not and will not happen without you and Ben O’Sullivan (the other garda wounded in the Adare attack) knowing in advance.”

“They were common criminals and nothing to do with the peace process. It (early release) won’t add anything to the peace process,” said Ms McCabe.

She said the Dáil announcement made her wonder who was leading the country: “Is it the majority government or the minority Sinn Féin-IRA?”

Last night, Defence Minister Willie O’Dea said it was unfortunate that Ann McCabe learned of the possible early release in the way she did and said he plans to meet with Ms McCabe over the weekend.

Pat Kearney, brother-in-law of Det Gda McCabe said it was hypocritical for the Government to call on new garda recruits to implement the law without fear or favour when they were giving favours to the killers of Jerry McCabe.

“We trusted Bertie Ahern, we trusted his Government and we trusted the word that the two Ministers for Justice gave us,” he said.

Det Gda McCabe was shot dead in an attempted robbery in Adare, Co Limerick in June 1996.

Pearse McCauley from Strabane and Kevin Walsh from Patrickswell were jailed for 14 years for the manslaughter of Det Gda McCabe. Jeremiah Sheehy from Rathkeale got 12 years and Michael O’Neill was sentenced to 11 years.

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