Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 08:46 UK

Garda McCabe killers are released

Detective Garda Jerry McCabe
Detective Garda Jerry McCabe was killed in an armed raid in 1996

Two men convicted of the manslaughter of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe have been released from prison in the Irish Republic.

Detective McCabe was killed during an armed raid on a post office van in Adare, County Limerick, in 1996.

Pearse McCauley from Strabane and Kevin Walsh from Limerick had been given 14-year sentences for the manslaughter of the Limerick detective.

The two men left Castlerea prison in a van without making any comment.

In 1999 the men pleaded guilty at the non-jury Special Criminal Court to the manslaughter of Detective McCabe.

A statement issued on behalf of Garda McCabe's widow Ann said her life "is now and will continue to be focused on her five children and the six grandchildren who have been denied a loving and gentle father and grandfather because of a treacherous deed for which there is yet no healing word of apology or expression of sorrow.

"The entire McCabe family rejoices in the recovery to full health of the retired Detective Garda Ben O'Sullivan who will always have an honoured place in the hearts of the family.

"Although there are outstanding matters from the events in Adare of 7 June 1996, for the McCabe family the completion of the sentences brings closure and consolation that the rule of law at least has been served."

IRA members

Four men in total, all members of the IRA, were jailed over the shooting of Detective McCabe.

Jeremiah Sheehy was released in February 2008 after serving 12 years, and Michael O'Neill was released in 2007 after serving eight years.

Sinn Fein had campaigned for the release of all the men under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

"In a public statement some years ago the IRA members convicted in relation to Jerry McCabe's death and the wounding of Garda Ben O'Sullivan, expressed their deep regret and apologised for the 'hurt and grief we have caused to their families'," said Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

"I believe that this apology was genuine and it echoes the sentiments of republicans everywhere.

"The release of Kevin Walsh and Pearse McCauley comes at the end of their sentences, despite them being qualifying IRA prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement."

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