U Turn

Shameful.

Ahern says McCabe killers will be released under North deal

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has told the Dail that the IRA killers of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe will be freed from prison as part of a deal to restore power-sharing government in the North.

Despite previously insisting that the men would serve their full sentences, Mr Ahern said today that he would be recommending their release as part of an agreement to secure complete IRA decommissioning.

Gardai McCabe was shot dead during a post office raid in Adare, Co Limerick, in November 1996.

Sinn Fein has constantly argued that the four IRA men convicted of his manslaughter were entitled to early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

  • maca

    Shameful is the word Ambrose. They should be left in prison to serve full term.

  • Ringo

    How this has anything to do with a deal is beyond me. I can see how it would grease the wheels though – the DUP might relish the idea of the Republic getting a taste of its own medicine after all the GFA releases and Sinn Fein would placate a few supporters – but I can’t see that this could be a deal breaker.

    Not sure that this will play well from Fianna Fail. Whether this gets smothered by todays generous budget remains to be seen, but the opposition might find it easier to make hay on this than on social welfare hikes and tax cuts.

    Also the Garda Representative Association is taking legal advice to see if it can prevent it.

  • Young Fogey

    Oh, well, looking at the Southern responses here, so much for all Irishmen sharing the pain of building a new future together…

  • Davros

    Concessions were agreed for decommissioning in the Belfast agreement. If SF insist that is it,the GFA and no more, then how come they can ask for further concessions and changes such as achieved by blackmail at Weston Park ?

  • Ringo

    Young Fogey –
    If you can coherently explain how releasing these 4 men is necessary to ‘build a new future together’ please do. Aside from your schadenfraude at ‘the Southerners’ having to taste their own medicine? All prisoners in the Republic that qualified for release under the GFA have already been released.

    Also, I’m not sure what sort of a future you’re looking to build. Care to elaborate?

    Davros –
    as you correctly point out, if Sinn Fein are so concerned with the integrity of the GFA then the release of these 4 aren’t up for discussion as they are outside the remit of the agreement. By the sounds of things Bertie is even looking at implementing a special piece of legislation to get them out.

  • Davros

    Garda McCabe killer release plan a betrayal of Irish People – Kenny
    Wednesday, December 01

    The Taoiseach has effectively confirmed today that the murderers of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe will be given early release from prison as part of the deal being negotiated with the political parties in Northern Ireland, according to Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny T.D.

    “This decision is a betrayal of the clear and solemn commitments given to the McCabe family and to the Irish people who were told before the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement that these murderers would serve their full terms of imprisonment.

    “The late Jerry McCabe was serving his country in June 1996 when he was killed by an IRA gang who only avoided prosecution for capital murder because of a huge level of intimidation of trial witnesses. They were disowned at the time by the IRA that was then officially on ceasefire. The republican movement subsequently reversed their position and began seeking their early release

    “The Taoiseach has on many occasions stated that these men would never be considered for early release and that this had been made clear to the Sinn Fein negotiators. This position has been upheld by the High Court. The Taoiseach should never have allowed this issue to become part of the negotiations with Sinn Fein.

    “I want to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as soon as possible. However, this Agreement was approved by the people on the clear understanding that Jerry McCabe’s killers would not be covered. This betrayal of their word raises the question as to whether any commitments made by this Government can be relied on.”

  • Davros

    an out for Bertie ?

    Today, Mr Ahern said they could be released if IRA paramilitary activity ends completely, but the Government would first have to engage with Mr McCabe’s family, Ben O’Sullivan, and garda representative organisations.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Playing politics has finally caught up with FF. They were told at the time of the GFA that these men were to be released but the ran from the Sindo et al. SF said at the start these men should have been released, once again they have been proved correct.
    I don’t usually buy the Sindo but I can’t wait until Sunday to read O Reillys’ fusiliers, RDE, ex stick Harris et al.

  • Davros

    SF said at the start these men should have been released

    Sinn FΓ©in have said a lot of things over the years, including that none of the Colombian three had anything do do with Sinn FΓ©in Pat πŸ™‚

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The fact remains Davros that they did say these men should be released, seems like they were right on that one.
    On Colombia a lot of people said a lot of things especially around napalm and even small nuclear bombs. A bit of a laugh really.

  • Keith M

    This is not playing well in this country. There are accusations that Bertie tried to hide this story on Budget day and TV3 is running poll, which currently shows 85% of callers are against the release of these killers.

    FF will hope that it’s forgotten before election time, and to be honest in the area where this story impacts the most (Limerick), SF have such little support that I’d have a better chance of being elected as a Southern Unionist.

  • Ringo

    Pat –
    SF said at the start these men should have been released, once again they have been proved correct.

    eh??? Since when have Sinn Fein replaced the Parole Board?

    And proven correct? Correct about what? The High Court found that the were not eligible for release under the terms of the GFA. I think that would mean that they were actually incorrect in their assessment of the situation.

    Davros – they disowned this lot as well after the robbery. Then changed their minds.

  • James

    I prefer the elegant solution.

    Give them each five nickel bags of smack and release them in Moyross.

  • Davros

    Ringo : I did read one report that the “Final” position on what happened was that although the operation wasn’t approved at the appropriate level, the Dublin commander HAD approved it.

  • jessop

    How do all

    I am an irishman living in the republic and I am strongly of a nationalist persuasion. I can understand the necessity for prisoner releases but I am simply dumbfounded as to how sinn fein can possibly justify calling for the release of these armed robbers and murderers.

    Can someone please tell me what their justification is for wanting this case to be included under the terms of the GFA?

    Can any fellow nationalists/republicans tell me why they believe these people should be released?

    I’m asking question from a moral perspective rather than from the perspective of technicalities in the GFA.

    I do not disagree with the concept of prisoner releases as a whole, but this case (and I’m sure there are others I am not aware of) cannot be justified as being part of the war or the fight for freedom. This case is quite simply about criminals who carried out an armed robbery and murdered a member of the gardai.

    This whole issue literally turns my stomach and I hope to god that these cold blooded killers do not get released early. 11 to 14 years is not nearly enough if you ask me.

  • Henry94

    jessop

    I do not disagree with the concept of prisoner releases as a whole, but this case (and I’m sure there are others I am not aware of) cannot be justified as being part of the war or the fight for freedom.

    There was nothing in the deal about prisoner releases that required anyone to prove that what they did could stand up to anyones interpretation of what was or was not part of the fight for freedom.

    The question was were they claimed as prisoners by one of the organisations on ceasefire and did their offences pre-date the GFA.

    The people involved in the McCabe case clearly qualify.

    On its own this would cost Fianna Fail votes but we have not yet seen the context. If it is part of a deal that sees the effective end of the IRA and the DUP coming on board with the Agreement then I think that will be considered a price worth paying.

    A lot of those opposed to it would have opposed all the prisoner releases given the chance.

  • Davros

    The question was were they claimed as prisoners by one of the organisations on ceasefire and did their offences pre-date the GFA.

    The people involved in the McCabe case clearly qualify.

    untrue πŸ™‚

  • Ringo

    Doesn’t wash Henry.

    If the IRA want to claim that they were on ceasefire at the time the 4 men murdered Garda McCabe and robbed the PO, then they have to disown the 4. You cannot kill Guards and carry out armed robberies while on ceasefire. If you’re not a bunch of hypocrites that is, but that’s a different matter.

    Say if I didn’t pay my TV licence in 1997 and I was sent to jail for 2 years, and while in jail I joined the IRA, I would be entitled to release under the GFA according to you. Brilliant. I just don’t understand why Malcolm McArthur didn’t sign up.

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    The first IRA ceasefire ended in February 1996 and the second was called in July 1997. The Adare robbery occurred on the 7th of June 1996. The Good Friday Agreement was agreed in April 1998.

  • Davros

    Ringo – the SF position is that any IRA man/republican of an organisation on cease-fire convicted of any offence is eligible as long as the crime was committed before the GFA.

    It could get very interesting if a certain Belfast Republican is found guilty and Jailed for sex attacks on young boys allegedly committed before the GFA.

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    Say if I didn’t pay my TV licence in 1997 and I was sent to jail for 2 years, and while in jail I joined the IRA, I would be entitled to release under the GFA according to you.

    The IRA would have to let you join and claim you as one of their prisoners. There is nothing to suggest that process is open to such scams as you suggest.

    (do they really jail people for not paying a TV License?)

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Davros

    Now there’s food for thought… although if the IRA disowned Stitt and he was convicted, that might mean no eligibility for early release?

    Bertie is insistent that the McCabe case IRA men will not be released under the GFA’s early release scheme. I was wondering why… perhaps it is a convenient way for others to point to SF and say that these releases were outside the GFA, thus destroying SF’s argument that progress must be entirely within the GFA (just a wild guess).

    Perhaps using other legislation would allow the Gardai to keep closer tabs on the prisoners, or sthg.

    ‘Course, OTRs are NOT within the GFA either. No, I don’t care if it’s an anomoly. I do care that SF are bringing home their IRA exiles, while the IRA will not state that it has stopped exiling ordinary people. SF are happy to argue that decommissioning was never an obligation under the GFA. Well, if we’re going to be pedantic, neither is OTRs, though this extra-GFA deal between SF and Blair was done long ago.

  • Davros

    Now there’s food for thought… although if the IRA disowned Stitt and he was convicted, that might mean no eligibility for early release?

    Not according to SF πŸ™‚ Their position is that if anybody was a member and is in jail for offences committed pre-GFA, they are eligible. Of course that’s wrong, as shown in the past, as eligibility is clearly defined by the authorities who jailed the offender.

  • Ringo

    Henry –
    The first IRA ceasefire ended in February 1996 and the second was called in July 1997. The Adare robbery occurred on the 7th of June 1996.

    Point taken. I was under the impression that the ceasefire was in place at the time of the robbery.

  • Liam

    Davros

    I had thought you were better informed.

    The fact is that these men are qaulifying prisoners under the GFA. The Courts have agreed with this. As such they should have been released long ago. They are now being held only at the discretion of the Minister for Justice (McDowell).

    Please check your facts in future?

  • Ringo

    The Courts have agreed with this

    what courts?

  • Ringo

    The High Court has turned down an application by Michael O’Neill and John Quinn for release under the Good Friday Agreement.

  • Liam

    Ringo – keep up!!

    The Supreme Court judgement delivered 29th January 2004 determined that the men ARE qualifying prisoners.

  • Davros

    Sorry Liam – you are incorrect.

    Read the GFA : ( my highlights in bold)

    “Both Governments will put in place mechanisms to provide for an accelerated programme for the release of prisoners, including transferred prisoners, convicted of scheduled offences in Northern Ireland or, in the case of those sentenced outside Northern Ireland, similar offences (referred to hereafter as qualifying prisoners). Any such arrangements will protect the rights of individual prisoners under national and international law.”

    What are scheduled offences ?

    Defined Here

    The important part – “Any offence specified in this Part of this Schedule which is stated to be subject to this note is not a scheduled offence in any particular case in which the Attorney General for Northern Ireland certifies that it is not to be treated as a scheduled offence.”

    Now, the ROI equivalent for the A.G.N.I. used his prerogative to EXCLUDE the McCabe Killers. This was clearly stated before the signing of the GFA.

    Therefore clearly the McCabe killers do NOT qualify under the GFA.

  • Davros

    I cannot remember who it was, Pete or Gonzo, but someone earlier pointed out that as the RM wants to play small print details over the GFA, then it cannot pick and choose which parts to ignore.

  • Ringo

    Ringo – keep up!!

    Indeed, I managed to blot that one out. πŸ™‚

    But at no point did the SC judgement say that they they were entitled to release.

  • Henry94

    The Supreme Court as I understand it said that they qualified but the decision was the governments to make.

    Under the judgement there is no such thing as a right to release under the Agreement.

    I’m in some agreement with that position. Obligations under the Agreement are more political than legal

    It is a political agreement and the government has to face up to its responsibilities and release the four men.

    Others too have political responsibilities they will have to face up too.

  • maca

    The whole affair is a bit sickening if ya ask me. All prisoners should have to server full term, there should never have been any early releases, at least not until a complete disarmament of all groups concerned.

  • maca

    Sorry if this was already posted, don’t have time o read the whole thread:

    “TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern claimed yesterday that he has no choice but to recommend the release of the killers of Jerry McCabe to secure a deal on the North.”
    “But Anne McCabe, widow of the murdered Detective Garda, said she was “devastated”. She asked: “Who is running our Government – Sinn Fein, the IRA or Bertie Ahern?” Good question Anne.
    http://unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=39&si=1298458&issue_id=11772

    Meanwhile across the water:

    “A FORMER US Marine will spend the rest of his life in jail after being found guilty of shooting to death a wounded police officer who pleaded for mercy as he lay on the ground.”
    “the 25th person to be handed a whole-life sentence”

  • Davros

    Can someone explain how this works in the ROI ?
    Does the Tanaiste have the power to veto a Bertie decision ? Or are MH and W O’D threatening a government crisis if Bertie goes against them ?

    secondly: is she saying that they may be released as a reward for IRA decommissioning , but that they will not be released in advance of decommissioning as the price of decommissioning ?

    Harney: Killers cannot be freed under Agreement

  • Davros
  • James

    “Does the Tanaiste have the power to veto a Bertie decision ?”

    She’s just the vice prime minister with power only if the Taoiseach is out of the country, ill, dead or incapacitated. Unless she Shanghai’s or blows Bertie away, she can’t do jack other than ruin the coalition and hang both of them.

    I have never really understood why the provos did not disappear this crew since they caused so much trouble in their base area in the Republic but did not come home with the cash. They took their time before they claimed responsibility for the crew, so I would guess there was some politicking going on within republican circles to save the ASU. The Limerick connection must have some heavy hitters. The only other explanation is that it was a sanctioned hit, using the botched robbery as a cover up.