Tribute to hero Gardaí hit by Covid restrictions

Picture: @GardaInfo via Twitter

THE widow of Limerick Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, who was murdered by the IRA during a botched robbery in Adare, has described how she was unable to attend a remembrance ceremony for her husband and 87 other officers because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Ann McCabe and other family members watched the poignant annual Garda Memorial Day ceremony on May 18 in her home through a streaming service.

“I watched it in my sitting room, but it was very moving and a few tears were shed,” Mrs McCabe told the Limerick Post.

“It was very sad for us really, because it is a lovely ceremony, and normally you do get to meet a lot of retired members, serving members, and friends you might not have met for some time.”

The ceremony is held at Dublin Castle to remember Gardaí who have died in the line of duty.

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Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris observed social distancing guidelines at the event, which is normally attended by hundreds of family members and friends.

The event is referred to by Garda families as “survivors day”, said Mrs McCabe, who is a founding member and President of the Garda Survivors Support Association (GSSA).

‘The Last Post’ was played as the names of the 88 Gardaí who gave their lives in the service of the State were read out.

Each name is inscribed on a stone in the Castle grounds, and loved ones are presented with a single white rose.

“There are 88 now, hopefully there will be no more names on those stones,” said Mrs McCabe.

“The rose is a lovely gesture. It’s always a very very nice ceremony, a moving day, but it is a lovely tribute.”

“I believe each and every one of those gardai are heroes, not because of how they died, but because of how they lived their lives,” she said.

“It was wonderful to be able to see it, and they did it so elegantly, and it was very moving for me, and I’m sure it was for all the survivors.”

Jerry McCabe was murdered by an IRA gang as he and his partner Detective Garda Ben O’Sullivan escorted a cash delivery mail van on Main Street, Adare, on June 7, 1996. Detective O’Sullivan was seriously wounded.

Mrs McCabe said she and her family have been informed they will not be permitted to attend her husband’s anniversary Mass on June 7 due to covid-19 restrictions.

“Sadly now, we can’t, it will be on behind closed doors, but it will be streamed.”

“I think about Jerry everyday, There isn’t a day goes by that Jerry’s name isn’t mentioned in the house,” she said.