NOVEMBER, the month of All Souls, is always a poignant time for Anne McCabe, but this year it will be especially so.
Her husband, the murdered garda detective Jerry McCabe, would have celebrated his 70th birthday on Friday next, November 22.
He would have been planning the party now, she told the Limerick Leader, as she sat in Rooney’s auctioneers on O’Connell Street, the offices of her brother-in-law Pat Kearney, who like Jerry is also from north Kerry.
He had loved planning his 50th party at home in 1993, she said, - but less than three years later his life was taken in an attempted post office van robbery in Adare. “The celebrations would have been getting underway now but unfortunately it was not to be,” she said.
“It’s 17 years since Jerry died, even though it only feels like the other day, like yesterday. But he has never been forgotten. There isn’t a day goes by that Jerry’s name isn’t mentioned, I mean that sincerely, not a day.
“He would have been 70 this month, and he would have been planning a party. He was a great man for the parties. So it’s a very sad month for me but this is a great honour. It’s very touching and very moving for me,” she said.
Anne was presented with a painting of her late husband on behalf of the south-side Limerick residents’ association, who said they “didn’t want him to be forgotten”.
It was painted by full time artist Paul Weerasekeva, originally from Sri Lanka, who has been living in Limerick for over 20 years.
“On behalf of all my family, I am delighted and thrilled with this and I’d like to thank everyone. It will occupy a lovely place of honour in my home. It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Anne, a grand-mother, and a mother of five - four boys and one daughter, who was “the apple of Jerry’s eye”,
In 2009, two of the men jailed for his killing were released, Kevin Walsh, from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, and Pearse McAuley.
Four men pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the detective.
Jeremiah Sheehy, from Rathkeale, Co Limerick, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was released in 2008 after serving nine years. Michael O’Neill, also from Patrickswell, was freed after serving more than eight years of an 11-year sentence. All four had originally been charged with murder, but the State was forced to accept the manslaughter plea when key witnesses refused to co-operate after IRA intimidation.