Widow says Jerry McCabe killers have no place in family’s lives

Event to mark 20th anniversary of garda’s murder hears of refusal to feel injustice

The widow of murdered Limerick Det Garda Jerry McCabe said her husband’s killers were “no longer” part of her life.

Speaking as the 20th anniversary of his murder approaches, Ann McCabe said she did not think about those responsible for the crime.

“We speak about him [Jerry] all the time but as regards the people [responsible] they are no longer part of my life, so we don’t speak about them any more.

“We have lost two wonderful gardaí in the meantime as well and they will never be forgotten,” she said.


Ms McCabe, whose husband was shot in Adare on June 7th 1996, paid tribute to members of the force who “put their lives on the line so we can sleep safely”.

Her late husband had missed many important family events in the last 20 years, including the arrival of five of his six grandchildren “but I am sure he is up there looking down on them and looking after them”, she said.

Det Garda McCabe was killed during the attempted robbery of a post-office van.

Pearse McAuley, Michael O'Neill, Jeremiah Sheehy and Kevin Walsh were initially charged with murder but the charge was dropped after key witnesses refused to co-operate after IRA intimidation.

The four were later convicted of manslaughter while a fifth man, John Quinn, was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery.

The men were accepted as IRA prisoners and Sinn Féin fought a lengthy campaign for their early release as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Anniversary concert

When asked if she felt a sense of injustice that the people responsible for killing her husband were walking the streets Ms McCabe replied: “No, they are no longer part of my life and I really don’t want to speak about them.”

Limerick gardaí will mark the 20th anniversary of Mr McCabe’s murder with a special concert at the University Concert Hall on May 26th.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Det Garda McCabe’s partner and best friend Ben O’Sullivan, who was shot 11 times in the Adare attack, said the Special Criminal Court continued to be a safeguard against the potential intimidation of witnesses and jurors. It “is serving a marvellous purpose”, he said. “I know in the 37 years service that I spent in An Garda Síochána how intimidation is applied to people, be it jurors or otherwise.

‘Fitting tribute’

“This serves as a safeguard for people who are on a jury and afraid of their lives – because we are living in a democracy and long may it last,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan said the concert to mark the 20th anniversary of Mr McCabe’s death was a fitting tribute to “the great man that he was”.

“The vast majority of people that I speak to on a day-today basis can tell me exactly where they were when news broke about Jerry’s murder . . . on June 7th 1996. It is as clear in people’s minds as it is in mine memory wise, details of it . . . they can’t be as clear as mine, but that’s the sad story of 20 years ago.

“I have no choice but to think of him and it isn’t compulsory thinking, he was a great friend of mine. I didn’t have to try too hard to think about him over the past 20 years because when he was alive we thought of each other many a time,” he said.

The concert will be hosted by the Garda Band and feature Brendan Grace, Oliver Stapleton and the Unity Gospel Choir. Tickets (from uch.ie) will raise funds for a number of charitable causes including the Garda Benevolent Trust Fund, Adapt House, St Gabriel's School, Milford Hospice and Laura Lynn Foundation.