Three of the four killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe returned to live among their own in Co Limerick after serving manslaughter sentences.
Kevin Walsh, Michael O’Neill, both from Patrickswell, and Jeremiah Sheehy, from Rathkeale, were initially charged with the murder of Det Garda McCabe and the attempted murder of his colleague Det Garda Ben O’Sullivan.
Manslaughter pleas offered by the four were accepted by the State after alleged IRA intimidation of key prosecution witnesses.
Walsh and O’Neill were sentenced to 11 years, and Sheehy 12 years. Each had their terms reduced for good behaviour while behind bars.
A fifth man, John Quinn, from Faha, Patrickswell, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to commit robbery of the post van the two Special Branch detectives had been protecting when they were ambushed, but was not present in Adare on the day Det Garda McCabe was killed.
Early release sought
Sinn Féin unsuccessfully sought to have the four killers released early under the terms of the Belfast Agreement, insisting they qualified as IRA prisoners.
Former Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris collected Walsh and Strabane native Pearse McAuley, also jailed for Det Garda McCabe’s manslaughter, upon their release from Castlerea Prison on August 5th, 2009.
Walsh was regarded as one of the most senior IRA figures in Munster.In the years since his release Walsh has maintained a low profile having settled in the Kildimo area, informed sources said.
McAuley has a had a frightening criminal history, and once escaped from Brixton Prison in the UK. He was on the run from British and Irish authorities when he participated in the Adare killing.
In 2003 McAuley was temporarily allowed out of prison to marry Pauline Tully, a school teacher from Cavan who later became a Sinn Féin TD. In 2015 McAuley was given a 12-year sentence with the final four years suspended for a sustained and savage attack with a steak knife on Ms Tully.
O’Neill subsequently moved to Ennis, Co Clare, after his release from jail. He was attacked at his home by two masked men armed with a machete in September 2014. O’Neill, who had been sleeping in the house at the time, was struck on the head with an implement, windows were smashed and two cars at the address were also damaged.
In May 2014, O’Neill was before Ennis District Court charged with production of a wheel brace during the course of a dispute at his home in January 2013, and with engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour. The case was later dismissed after problems arose with how the charges were compiled.
Quinn has also kept a low profile since his release from prison in July 2003. He eventually served three-quarters of a six-year term for conspiracy to rob the post office van.
Quinn and O’Neill lost High Court actions claiming they should have been immediately released from jail as political prisoners under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.
Two further suspected members of the IRA gang are still at large but living abroad. Paul Damery from Cobh, Co Cork, is believed to be resident in South America, and Gerry Roche, from Dún Laoghaire, who moved to Shannon, Co Clare, fled to Holland and later travelled to Spain, informed sources said.
Garda sources claim Roche has travelled back to Ireland a number of times without being arrested.
According to another source, Damery was living in Managua, Nicaragua, and was running a successful business venture there and married to a woman from Venezuela. He was known to locals as “Miguel”.