The widow of Limerick Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, shot dead by the IRA during a botched robbery in Adare 24 years ago, has described how she and her family were unable attend a remembrance ceremony for her slain husband and 87 other officers, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Ann McCabe shared how she and other family members watched the poignant annual Garda Memorial Day ceremony, on May 18, via a streaming service in her house.
“I watched it in my sitting room, but it was very moving and a few tears were shed,” Mrs McCabe said.
“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 An Garda Síochána members who have died in the line of duty.
The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris observed social distancing guidelines at the event, which is normally attended by hundreds.
The event is also referred to by garda families as “survivors day”, offered Mrs McCabe, a founding member and President of the Garda Survivors Support Association (GSSA).
A poignant lone bugle call of the 'The Last Post' was performed as the names of the 88 gardaí who gave their lives for the State were read out.
Each garda’s name is inscribed on a stone on 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 I have to say. 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 gardaí are heroes, not because of how they died, but because of how they lived their lives,” she said.
Jerry McCabe was shot dead 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.
Det O’Sullivan was seriously wounded.
Mrs McCabe said she has been informed she 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.”