SF candidate slammed for Garda killing comments

Garda Jerry McCabe
Garda Jerry McCabe

A Sinn Fein election candidate for the Republic of Ireland’s general election has been slammed for failing to condemn the murder of a Garda officer by the IRA.

Two IRA gunmen opened fire on Garda Jerry McCabe without warning during a Limerick robbery in 1996.

Austin Stack, spokesman for a new southern victims’ group, the Independent Victims and Survivors Coalition, has now condemned Sinn Fein candidate Louise O’Reilly, after she failed to give a direct answer to the question - ‘Did she condemn the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe?’

Speaking on RTE Radio One on Saturday, Ms O’Reilly answered the question: “War is very, very complicated and we don’t have the time or the scope to go into it now. I don’t propose to make sweeping statements about things that happened in the past. I don’t think it’s helpful and I also don’t think that it is what people want to hear.”

But Mr Stack, whose father, Portlaoise chief prison officer Brian Stack, was shot by the IRA in 1983, slammed her response.

“This shows the nature of the Sinn Fein modus operandi and the thinking of ordinary members of the party - the mentality of the candidate that they are putting forward before the electorate,” he said.

“They are supposedly supporters of the peace process and supporting policing yet when asked to condemn the murder of a policeman who was protecting a cash-in-transit van, they can’t do it.”

He found it unacceptable, he said, that the murder of so many members of the Irish security forces by the IRA are now dismissed as “accidents” by Sinn Fein.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “Louise O’Reilly has unreservedly condemned the killing of Jerry McCabe. During the programme last Saturday she was trying to make the point that all sides to the conflict had done wrong and caused a lot of hurt.”