THERE were emotional scenes in Adare this morning as Limerick remembered Detective Garda Jerry McCabe on the 25th anniversary of his passing.
Family and friends of the late garda gathered outside the village's garda station.
On the morning of June 7, 1996, Detective Garda McCabe and a colleague, Detective Garda Ben O'Sullivan were on duty escorting a post office truck on its cash delivery to Adare.
Just before 7 am the truck stopped at Adare and the patrol car pulled up close by. As the truck driver prepared to unload the mail, a Provisional IRA Unit crashed a jeep at full speed into the rear of the detective’s unmarked patrol car. Within seconds five additional gang members, in another vehicle, arrived at the scene and opened fire on the garda car, killing Detective Garda McCabe and seriously wounding Detective Garda O’Sullivan.
This morning, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys, and Jerry McCabe's wife Ann delivered speeches.
Ann McCabe said: "On this day 25 years ago, Jerry left our home early in the morning, said goodbye to me, and set out on a routine garda escort of a delivery of pension and welfare payments to the post office in Adare. It was a task he and his comrade Ben O'Sullivan had completed without incident on countless occasions."
"Jerry was close to retirement. He had modest dreams and a future he never got to see," Ann said.
Wreaths were laid in Adare this morning to remember Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, who died a quarter of a century ago today in the #Limerick village.— Nick Rabbitts (@Nick468official) June 7, 2021
Full story in the next hour on the @Limerick_Leader pic.twitter.com/Pv7ZwnRVsp
She said that 25 years ago, "evil and murder" invaded Adare's Main Street.
"In that few seconds of evil and depravity, my life and the lives of my children changed forever. I remember Jerry every day - of his loyalty, of his job as a Detective Garda, his impish humour but his commitment to our children."
"He was the love of my life," she added.
Ms Humphries said Det Gda McCabe had been “brutally and callously murdered, while carrying out his sworn duty to protect the people of this State, in the unprovoked gun attack."
“The murder of Jerry McCabe was a particularly vicious crime, I can still recall the shock and revulsion of the public across the country, but particularly those in Limerick where Jerry lived with his wife Ann and their five children.
“I know that the pain of his loss is still deeply felt by his family and by his colleagues in An Garda Síochána after 25 years, and I would like to express my sincere sympathies to Ann McCabe at this very poignant time for her and for her children and family," she said.
Although the IRA had distanced itself from the 1996 killing, it was carried out by its Munster unit, four of whom were originally charged with Det Gda McCabe’s murder, and the attempted murder of his partner Detective Garda Ben O’Sullivan, but were later jailed for manslaughter.
During their trial in 1999, the State accepted their pleas to the lesser charge after key witnesses refused to cooperate.
Three of the four convicted garda killers, including, Kevin Walsh and Michael O’Neill, both from Lisheen Park, Patrickswell, and Jeremiah Sheehy from Abbey Park, Rathkeale, returned to live in Co Limerick following their release from prison.
The fourth, Strabane native, Pierce McAuley, was returned to prison and sentenced to 12 years for a prolonged knife attack on his estranged wife Pauline Tully in 2014, who was elected as Sinn Féin TD in 2020.
A fifth man, John Quinn, of Faha, Patrickswell, Co Limerick, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to commit the robbery of the post office van in Adare.
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