Locals come out to honour the memory of Garda Jerry McCabe in the village of the crooked cross

Last Monday, Adare, Co Limerick, remembered Jerry McCabe on the 20th anniversary of the IRA attack which claimed his life near the village post office. Yesterday, his own people and hundreds of others gathered in Ballylongford, Co Kerry, where he was brought up to pay their tribute.

Locals come out to honour the memory of Garda Jerry McCabe in the village of the crooked cross

A plaque was unveiled on the building in Bridge St, where his parents Johnny and Lizze ran a grocery and hardware business and brought up their six children — Maria, Eileen, Jerry, Nuala, Mike, and Kay.

Local sculptor Paddy Fitzell carved the plaque out of black granite with an inscription from the great poet Brendan Kennelly also a son of Ballylongford with the line ‘the crooked cross always in his heart’.

Paddy explained the line: “The crossroad in the middle of the village is crooked so Ballylongford is often called the village of the crooked cross.”

Ann McCabe, who was accompanied by members of her family, recalled: “The first time I came to Ballylongford I was going out with Jerry. He introduced me to Lizzie and Johnny and we used travel over to Ballybunion to the dances in the Central Ballroom. Today brings back many memories of great days in Ballylongford.”

Paddy Fitzell’s son Omar, a member of the traffic corps in Fermoy, came up with the idea of a plaque to Jerry McCabe. He said: “We felt it would be fitting to remember Jerry in the street where he was brought up.”

Assistant commissioner for the Southern Region John O’Mahoney said: “It is important that we remember those members of the force who have given their lives in the line of duty. They are all heroes.

I am delighted that the community which shaped Jerry McCabe into the great man he was has come out today to remember him.”

At a reception in the Parish Hall, Ann McCabe recalled: “Veronica Guerin came to Limerick to cover to story after Jerry was murdered. At Jerry’s funeral Mass, the hymn ‘Be not Afraid’ was sung and she said afterwards that when she died she wanted that hymn to be sung. Little did we know that this would tragically happen within weeks.”

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