McCabe widow says McGuinness met killer on the run

 

THE WIDOW of Det Garda Jerry McCabe, who was shot dead by the Provisional IRA during a botched armed robbery in 1996, has said Martin McGuinness’s “loyalty to a secret illegal army” is “incompatible with the office of president of Ireland”.

Anne McCabe said the Sinn Féin presidential candidate had visited Kevin Walsh, later convicted for his role in Det Garda McCabe’s killing, when he was on the run after the June 1996 shooting in Adare, Co Limerick.

She said in a statement that the visit by Mr McGuinness had taken place in a safe house in Co Cavan.

Mrs McCabe added that Mr McGuinness had not urged Walsh to give himself up and had not informed gardaí where the wanted man was.

She believed Mr McGuinness had acted in this way out of loyalty to the Provisional IRA, a “sinister” group that had once counted Mr McGuinness among its leaders and that “he regards as the legitimate government” of Ireland.

“This loyalty to a secret illegal army presumably was more important to Mr McGuinness than helping the Garda Síochána to solve a vicious murder. It is a loyalty that we believe is incompatible with the office of president of Ireland.”

She also believed Mr McGuinness knew the current whereabouts of Paul Damery and Gerry Roche, who are still wanted in relation to her husband’s killing.

In the statement released to the Limerick Leader, she expressed her support for the families of other gardaí, prison officers and soldiers who had been killed by the Provisional IRA and had recently spoken out.

Last week David Kelly, whose father Pte Patrick Kelly was shot dead by the IRA during a joint Garda and Army operation to rescue businessman Don Tidey in 1983, confronted Mr McGuinness in Athlone.

He said the Sinn Féin politician was a “liar” for saying he did not know the identity of the IRA members who killed his father, who was shot dead along with Garda Gary Sheehan in Derrada Wood, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.

Mr McGuinness denied he was lying about the matter, had been in the IRA at the time or was a member of its army council.

Yesterday Mr McGuinness denied he had visited Kevin Walsh when he was on the run, describing it as a “mischievous claim” that the McCabe family had been led to believe.

He also denied knowing the whereabouts of those still wanted in relation to the killing.

“The killing of Garda McCabe was unjustifiable,” he said.

“I have condemned it unreservedly. A grave wrong was done to the McCabe family and the IRA have acknowledged that and apologised for it. I have never and would never stand over attacks on members of the Defence Forces or the gardaí.”

He later said he had no recollection of an interview he had done in 1985 with Hot Press magazine in which he said the gardaí were a legitimate target for the Provisional IRA members in the 1983 incident when Pte Kelly and Garda Sheehan were killed.

He reportedly said: “IRA volunteers felt they were going to be shot dead and were defending themselves against armed gardaí and soldiers.”

The interview was conducted with Michael O’Higgins, who is now a leading barrister.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mrs McCabe had showed “enormous courage” after having gone through a “horrendous ordeal”. He said people deserved to know the truth about the killing in 1996 and urged anybody with information to supply it to the Garda.

Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell said any person who wanted to be the Republic’s first citizen had a duty to assist gardaí.