IRA leader on the run over child abuse charges was key suspect in murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe
A former Provisional IRA leader on the run after skipping bail on charges of child sexual abuse was the terrorists’ boss in the Republic when Det Garda Jerry McCabe was murdered.
The callous shooting of the detective in Adare, Co Limerick, shocked the nation in 1996 and led to a major manhunt for his killers.
The IRA immediately distanced itself from the murder, which had been carried out by its so-called Munster unit. However, it later admitted that its members were responsible while claiming that the shooting had not been sanctioned by its ruling Army Council.
As a result of an internal inquiry, the Belfast-born man, who had been operating as the head of the terror organisation’s southern command from his base in Tallaght, Co Dublin, stepped down from his leading role.
He was also alleged to have been involved in sanctioning the murder of Portlaoise chief prison officer Brian Stack. He was shot in the neck outside the National Stadium at South Circular Road, Dublin, after attending a boxing contest there in March 1983. He died 18 months later.
Mr Stack was the only prison officer in the Republic to have been murdered by the Provisionals during the Troubles.
The IRA figure moved to Spain after he was demoted. While he was living there gardai from a Dublin station in the north of the city carried out a two-year investigation into claims by a woman that he sexually assaulted her over 20 years ago.
As part of those inquiries, two of the investigating detectives flew to Alicante and questioned the suspect at his home. During the interview the man denied the claims.
That investigation resulted in the office of the DPP directing that the man be charged with four counts of child sexual abuse. An extradition warrant was then issued by Dublin District Court.
He was arrested by police in Alicante in February 2016 and appeared shortly afterwards at the Audiencia Nacional, which deals with extradition cases.
He was extradited to Ireland in April 2016, where he appeared at Dublin District Court. Gardai objected to bail, but the court allowed bail on condition that he sign on every day at a garda station in the run up to his trial.
Two days before the case was due to begin in June 2017, he went missing and has not been traced since.
Gardai issued a worldwide alert for his arrest through Interpol, but efforts to find him have so far been unsuccessful.
While living in Spain the former terror boss is believed to have been heavily involved in several companies focusing on real estate and motor import and export businesses.
He also featured in a Criminal Assets Bureau investigation into the activities of another major south county Dublin Provisional IRA figure with business connections to the Alicante area.
Two garda officers involved in the investigation into the shooting of Mr Stack also flew to Alicante to interview him at his home about his alleged involvement in that crime.
The Provisionals consistently denied they were responsible for murdering Mr Stack until 2013, when a statement admitting responsibility was issued after members of Mr Stack’s family met the then Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams and a former IRA commander.
The Stack investigation is still continuing, but nobody has yet faced criminal charges.
In his role as the chief prison officer at the country’s top security jail, which housed IRA inmates, Mr Stack regularly reviewed internal arrangements there to prevent a terrorist breakout.
A bench warrant for the IRA figure’s arrest on IRA membership charges was issued in 1998 but was never executed.
On the application of a senior garda officer, the Special Criminal Court cancelled the warrant in 2006.
Afterwards senior officers said they had the right to seek another warrant if they wanted to arrest him.