Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has apologised for the IRA murder of Irish police officer Jerry McCabe – 17 years later.

The Louth deputy made the public apology in the Irish parliament on Tuesday.

Adams apologised to McCabe’s family for the IRA’s actions as he also paid tribute to murdered detective Adrian Donohue.

The remarks were made 24 hours before a state funeral for Dundalk based office Donohue, gunned down in a robbery at a County Louth credit union last Friday.

Read More: Widow of legendary shot cop Jerry McCabe calls for action after Dundalk detective is gunned

Limerick man McCabe was shot dead by republicans during a botched post office raid in Adare in June 1996.

Republican leader Adams told the Irish parliament that the death of detective Donohoe had provoked memories of the killing of Garda McCabe and the wounding of his colleague Ben O Sullivan.

He said: “I want to apologise to Mrs Anne McCabe and the McCabe family, and to Garda (police officer) Ben O’Sullivan and to the families of other members of the state forces who were killed by republicans in the course of the conflict.

“I am very sorry for the pain and loss inflicted on those families. No words of mine can remove that hurt. Dreadful events cannot be undone.

Read More: Last of McCabe killers released from jail in Ireland

“But I want to restate that the resolve of Sinn Fein and of the majority of Irish people is to ensure that there is never, ever a recurrence of conflict.”

Four members of the Provisional IRA members were convicted of McCabe’s murder but have since been freed from jail.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a decade ago Adams described the murder of detective McCabe as reprehensible but did not apologise.

McCabe’s widow has repeatedly challenged him to condemn her husband’s killing.

Limerick man Jerry McCabe was shot dead by republicans during a botched post office raid in Adare in June 1996Google Images