Belfast Telegraph

It’ll be a sad day if US mayor who honoured Adams wins White House, says Garda widow

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
Anne McCabe
Gerry Adams
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The wife of a Garda officer murdered by the IRA in 1996 has said it will be "a sad day for the world if the mayor of New York is successful" in his bid for the US presidency.

Anne McCabe, whose husband Jerry was gunned down in Adare, Co Limerick during the attempted robbery of a post office van, was among those who sent a letter of complaint to the mayor when he renamed St Patrick's Day as 'Gerry Adams Day' in New York in 2018.

Bill de Blasio, who cannot run again for mayor after two four year terms, has confirmed his plan to challenge President Donald Trump in the race for the White House in 2020.

Anne McCabe, a mum-of-five and now in her 60s, has lived 23 years without her husband and has spent a lot of time in New York trying to counter the Irish republican charm offensive.

She was instrumental in setting up an academic exchange programme at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York in honour of her husband shortly after his murder, to promote the sharing of practices and technologies in policing and criminal justice between Ireland and the United States. She called Mr de Blasio's celebration of Gerry Adams last year, which he said was in recognition of the "power of peace", an "insult" and "sadly misguided".

"IRA/Sinn Fein never once apologised or even condemned the murder of my Jerry. He wasn't involved in the Troubles. He was just doing his job."

"I've been in a room with Mr Adams in New York and see how he works it. Unfortunately, people like the mayor of New York are sadly misguided when it comes to what happened in Ireland north and south over the years. "I confronted Mr Adams on one of his fundraising visits, back in 2006. He didn't know I was there, but I challenged him. He refused to acknowledge my questions. That he still persists in saying he was never in the IRA is simply laughable, but ill-informed politicians around the world like Mr de Blasio fawn over his words.

"I have never met Mr de Blasio, but it says a lot about him if he's willing to take Mr Adams' opinions as fact without even trying to understand what actually happened in Northern Ireland over the last 50 years.

"If the mayor of New York is intent on running for the Presidency and is successful it will be a sad day for the victims of the IRA to have him sitting in the White House as the most powerful man in the world."

Four IRA men were convicted of manslaughter over the death of Jerry McCabe and his widow had to campaign to prevent their early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

Six victims' families wrote to the 58-year-old mayor after he renamed St Patrick's Day in the city in 2018, but over a year later have yet to receive a response, accusing Mr de Blasio of treating them with contempt.

Earlier this year the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, posthumously honoured Martin McGuinness for "courageous service in the military".

Following an outcry from victims, she apologised for "the pain this certificate has caused".

Launching his Presidential bid, Mr de Blasio, a Democrat, said he was running "because it's time we put working people first." He has been highly critical of Mr Trump on issues such as climate change, immigration and policing, and used Trump Tower in New York to announce his intention to run for President.

Mr De Blasio faces an uphill struggle to stand out among nearly two dozen Democratic contenders, who include former US vice president Joe Biden US senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

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