The widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe claims former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern snubbed her a number of times as she sought help to keep her husband’s killers behind bars.
In an interview with the Limerick Life newspaper, 20 years on from Det McCabe’s murder, Ann McCabe claimed Mr Ahern snubbed her at the White House in 2005.
She also claimed Mr Ahern ignored her when they both attended a VIP lounge at Dublin Airport after her husband’s slaying by an IRA gang, in June 1996.
Mr Ahern vehemently denies the claims.
Ms McCabe claimed Mr Ahern avoided her in the White House in March 2005 — four months after he told the Dáil he had “no alternative” but to agree to the release of Det McCabe’s killers, under a new IRA peace deal negotiated with Sinn Féin.
This was despite a written promise Ann McCabe received in 1999 from the then Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue, that the killers would not be released early under any terms.
Later in 2005, Mr Ahern said the deal to release the killers was off the table.
However, Ann 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 phonecall 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.
Mr Ahern described Ms McCabe’s claims as “off the wall”.
“First of all, I’ve the highest respect and admiration for Ann McCabe and her family, and have had for the last 20 years,” Mr Ahern said. “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 said.
“But, I didn’t disturb her because I felt it as inappropriate at the time. I think it was the summer of 1996, the year her husband was killed,” he added.
Mr Ahern said his relationship with Sinn Fein was “very bad” in 2005, following Robert McCartney’s murder and the Northern Bank robbery.
“The idea that I would have been afraid to meet with Ann, because it might annoy Sinn Féin, is not true.”
Mr Ahern admitted, “I don’t honestly remember it, but I’m sure if (Ann McCabe) was (at the White House), I would have met her. I honestly don’t remember meeting her,” he said.
Mr Ahern also said he apologised to Ms McCabe when they had a meeting in his office, post 2005.
“I remember saying that I was sorry if I caused her offence, it might have been in response to the Dublin Airport thing, or maybe I was apologising for the fact that we thought about releasing these guys (Det McCabe’s killers),” Mr Ahern said.
Ms McCabe hit back at Mr Ahern’s comments: “The cheek of him.”
Ms McCabe said she had a clear recollection of waiting to speak with Mr Ahern at the White House, and had witnesses to prove he snubbed her: “I can assure you I can prove it, if that’s what (Mr Ahern) wants.”
“How could I make up a story like that. The cheek of him. (Mr Ahern) said he would come to meet me, and he didn’t come,” she claimed.
A plaque is to be unveiled in Det McCabe’s native Ballylongford, Co Kerry, on June 12, to mark the 20th anniversary of his murder.
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