McCabe family calls for action to get garda killers off streets
ANN McCabe, the widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, who was killed in an IRA gun attack in 1996, has said there are "dark pockets" in this country that have to be examined after the shooting dead of another garda officer.
Before Friday night's brutal murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in Dundalk, Jerry McCabe, who was based at Henry Street garda station in Limerick, was the last serving garda officer to be shot dead in the course of his duties.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mrs McCabe said it was unbelievable to hear that another serving garda had been gunned down while doing his duty.
"We all thought those dark days were left behind," she said. "Seventeen years later and to see that we are looking down the road at this again – it is just unbelievable. As Jerry would say, 'There are dark pockets to be looked at'."
Mrs McCabe said her thoughts and sympathies were with Det Garda Adrian Donohoe's family, colleagues and friends.
"God love that poor family – a young family with children. I can just imagine [what they are going through], it brings it all up again. They will have some long days ahead of them, but they can rely on the support of An Garda Siochana and the wonderful support of the public."
Mrs McCabe said the murder would resonate across the force.
"They are all very traumatised – that they can go out to work and not come back. It doesn't bear thinking about. Who knows what is going to happen? But that is their job."
On Friday night, Pat Kearney, brother-in-law to Jerry McCabe, was at the Strand Hotel in Limerick for an annual gathering of retired garda officers.
More than 100 former and serving officers were present, including Ben O'Sullivan, who was with Jerry and was wounded when their unmarked patrol car was fired upon as they guarded a post office van in Adare, Co Limerick, in 1996.
Mr Kearney said: "We were absolutely shocked when the phone call came in of what happened in Louth. All of Jerry's friends were there [at the garda event] – everyone there worked with him.
"Ben O'Sullivan was with me and the phone call came in and it was absolutely dreadful. Ben is still strong and healthy and positive about getting on with life, but everyone was so upset when we heard of what happened that poor detective.
"Everything was going well and then we got this news – everyone was devastated to hear it. Straight away everyone was talking about it and reminiscing about Jerry.
"At the time, [Jerry McCabe's death] was a shock to the culture of the country and the Gardai. What can you say after this atrocity?"
Mr Kearney said the thoughts of all of Jerry's colleagues were with the family and friends of Det Garda Donohoe.
He continued: "It is nothing but traumatic for that family. It is another young family shattered out of the blue – they have lost their father, lost their husband, lost their brother. It is awful.
"These vicious criminals don't give a damn about other people, about the communities or about Ireland. They are just trying to enrich themselves.
"The guards know who these scumbags are but they need back-up by the State to get these undesirables off the streets. Our laws are not strong enough."
He added: "Why do we put up with this crazy carry-on? Why can't we put them off the streets?"