SF urges release of McCabe killers


Sinn Fein has again called for the release of the men jailed for the manslaughter of Det Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare, Co Limerick, in 1996.

Three of the party's TDs - Mr Sean Crowe, Mr Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Mr Arthur Morgan - visited the four men yesterday, at their request, in Castlerea Prison.

The four are Pearse McCauley from Strabane, and three Limerick men, Jeremiah Sheehy from Rathkeale, and Michael O'Neill and Kevin Walsh from Patrickswell.

Claiming the prisoners are being used as "political fodder", Mr Crowe said: "We went to Castlerea to listen to their concerns and to express our continued support for their immediate release."

Up to now, the Government has consistently refused to free the men under the Belfast Agreement's early release rules on the grounds that the IRA was on ceasefire when the killing occurred.

However, Mr Crowe said: "It is quite clear under the agreement these prisoners qualify for early release.

"It states categorically that all prisoners belonging to organisations on ceasefire qualify for early release and that that release should happen no later than two years after the agreement is signed.

"That was in 1998. It is now 2002. The Government is in clear breach of its commitments under the agreement. The men should be released immediately," he said.

Sinn Féin, the Dublin South West TD said, recognised the pain and suffering the release would cause for Mr McCabe's widow, Ann, and the couple's children.