Ahern dismisses claims he ignored McCabe's widow
Published 19/05/2016 | 02:30
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has vehemently denied claims by the widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe that he ignored her as she fought to keep her husband's killers behind bars.
Ann McCabe claimed Mr Ahern snubbed her at the White House in 2005.
Ms McCabe claimed that Mr Ahern avoided her in Washington four months after he told the Dáil he had "no alternative" but to agree to the release of Det McCabe's killers, under an IRA peace deal negotiated with Sinn Féin.
This was despite a written promise that Ann McCabe received in 1999 from then Justice Minister John O'Donoghue that her husband's killers would not be released early under any terms.
Ms McCabe claimed Mr Ahern "never came near me" when they both attended the White House on St Patrick's Day, 2005.
"Later on I got a phone call from [a source in] Washington to say I 'wasn't wanted' in Washington," Ms McCabe added.
"It was Bertie Ahern that didn't want me," she said.
In an interview she gave to the 'Limerick Life' newspaper almost 20 years on from Det McCabe's murder, she also claimed that the former Taoiseach had ignored her on another occasion, when they were both in the VIP lounge at Dublin Airport.
However, Mr Ahern has described Ms McCabe's claims as "off the wall". He said: "First of all, I've the highest respect and admiration for Ann McCabe and her family, and have had for the last 20 years.
"Someone informed me that Ann was annoyed that I had ignored her - I think it was in Dublin Airport - that I had ignored her in the VIP Lounge," he added.
"But I didn't disturb her because I felt it was inappropriate at the time... I think it was the summer of 1996, the year her husband was killed.
"The idea I would have been afraid to meet with Ann, because it might annoy Sinn Féin, is not true...
"I don't honestly remember it, but I'm sure if [she] was [at the White House], I would have met her," he said.
However, Ms McCabe said that she had a clear recollection of waiting to speak with Mr Ahern at the White House and had witnesses.
"How could I make up a story like that - the cheek of him," she said.