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Sunday 21 January 2018

Jerry's dad died of a broken heart after IRA murdered his son, says Ann McCabe

Detective Garda Jerry McCabe’s widow Ann with retired garda Ben O’Sullivan at the unveiling of the plaque in Ballylongford. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Detective Garda Jerry McCabe’s widow Ann with retired garda Ben O’Sullivan at the unveiling of the plaque in Ballylongford. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

The murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare 20 years ago caused his father Johnny to die of "a broken heart", his widow Ann McCabe has said.

Mrs McCabe told those attending a special commemorative event for her late husband in his native Ballylongford, Co Kerry that she had no doubt 'Grandad' never recovered from the tragedy of Jerry's death.

Yesterday, , Ballylongford commemorated a national hero who gave his life in the line of duty.

Mrs McCabe said: "It has often been said of a person that she or he died of a broken heart. In John McCabe's place, it was literally true.

"Grandad McCabe never got over Jerry's murder. It broke his heart."

Mrs McCabe unveiled a plaque, designed by local artist Paddy Fitzell, outside what was once the McCabe family home, the newsagents and grocery on Bridge Street.

She was joined by her children, John, Mark, Stacy, Ian and Ross, her grandchildren, Jerry's sisters Marie, Eileen, Nuala and Kay, and his brother Mike.

Her late husband's partner, retired garda Ben O'Sullivan, who suffered 11 bullet wounds on that fateful day in Adare, June 7, 1996, was also present.

The Garda Ceremonial Unit, led by piper Danny Houlihan, marched in procession from St Michael's Church to the former McCabe house, which is now owned by Seán Feeney.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan was represented by the Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony and the Garda Representative Association, which sponsored the plaque, was represented by its president, Kieran O'Neill.

Mrs McCabe said the family was honoured to be in Ballylongford to remember "our Jerry".

"We spent many happy times in Ballylongford with Jerry's beloved dad, Johnny and his dearly loved mother, Lizzie. Standing here in this lovely village, I probably don't have to tell anyone of the mixed emotions this unveiling has brought to me and our family.

"Jerry had a great respect and passion for Ballylongford and its community. He loved its people and its characters and often spoke lovingly of them."

Ben O'Sullivan recalled his happy memories of visits to the north Kerry village.

"Any time we were even in close proximity to Ballylongford in the course of our duties, we'd come here," he told the Irish Independent.

"I remember coming here when this was a shop and Johnny and Lizzie were running it.

"It was like calling in at home because there was a céad míle fáilte readily available to anybody, regardless of who they were."

Family friend Muirne Hurley Goode, the 1994 Rose of Tralee, whose father Cormac was stationed with Det Garda McCabe, sang 'Neidín', Jerry's favourite song, which she also sang at his funeral 20 years ago.

Irish Independent

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