State Papers: Adams warned of a peace process following the murder of Jerry McCabe

Senior Sinn Féin leaders, including Gerry Adams and Pat Doherty, have asked the government to reduce harassment of Republicans following the killing of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in Limerick.

Secret files show that Mr Adams raised the matter directly with Secretary of State Ray Burke and Attorney General John O’Donoghue.

Mr Adams bluntly warned that harassment of Republicans – particularly Sinn Féin activists – is “a significant problem” and complicating the campaign to fulfill commitments in the peace process.

At a September 19, 1997 meeting in Dublin, the President of Sinn Féin stressed that the fatal shooting in Adare on June 7, 1996 was wrong and should not have happened.

Det Garda McCabe and fellow Det Garda Ben O’Sullivan were shot and killed while escorting a marked £81,000 An Post van.

Her car was rammed from behind and two masked men opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Det Garda McCabe was hit three times and killed almost instantly. Det Garda O’Sullivan was hit eleven times but survived.

The gunman opened fire without warning and never offered the two police officers an opportunity to surrender their weapons.

The IRA Military Council later said it did not authorize the raid and that it had been carried out by individual members contrary to instructions.

The Adare raid came four months after the end of the IRA’s first ceasefire with the Canary Wharf bombing.

Mr Adams, who was joined by Martin McGuinness and Rita O’Hare, confirmed how An Garda Síochána members were feeling after the fatal shooting.

“Mr Adams was referring to the ongoing harassment of Sinn Féin activists,” the memo said. “He mentioned the meeting that culminated in the cessation of violence, to which activists were brought from across the country but the Special Department maintained an intrusive presence – also that it was their job to prevent illegal activity.

“He also said that the IRA was wrong in the killing of Jerry McCabe and other killings.

“He understood how the Gardaí felt, but the government needed to get a sense of how strong the Special Branch presence is.

“However, Sinn Féin has never recovered from past harassment by activists. While this wasn’t a major issue, it was important to their people.”

Mr Adams said that if Sinn Féin were recognized as a legitimate political party, their activists should not be harassed.”

An earlier appeal to the government about the impact of harassment of Republicans was made on August 6 when Pat Doherty and Rita O’Hare met with officials from the Taoiseach and State Departments.

Mr Doherty said no one underestimated the strength of feelings over the killing of Det Gda McCabe but the harassment had to end to create a sense that the peace process was ushering in a new era.

“Mr Doherty raised an issue [as to] which Sinn Féin viewed as continued gardaí harassment of Republicans,” the briefing note revealed.

He added that Sinn Féin was aware of the strength of feelings surrounding the murder of Garda McCabe in Limerick, but even taking that into account, the scale of the arrests and raids – for no particular reason – was in that area exaggerated.

“He stressed the need to create a sense that we are in a new era. He also pointed out that there was a feeling in some circles that the Gardaí were deliberately playing it off to Republicans during the six weeks the truce was to be judged.

“Mr Doherty returned to the issue of harassment later in the meeting. He pointed out that there appears to be a particularly high use of IRA membership dues to intimidate and threaten people.

“Ms. O’Hare added that people have been threatened by being told their files are with the chief of attorney’s office.

“She noted that those receiving the threats and charges were very marginalized. She also noted that the woman assigned to follow her wasn’t very good.” State Papers: Adams warned of a peace process following the murder of Jerry McCabe

Fry Electronics Team

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