THERE was widespread sadness in the Castlebellingham area last week when the death was announced of Detective Garda Jayne Cahill (nee Heaney).
Just this year, Jayne and her husband Garda Sergeant Dermot Cahill had their first child, Charlie.
Last week she passed away from cancer.
Detective Jayne Cahill was a member of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU).
Jayne grew up in Castlebellingham and was a member of a popular and highly respected business family.
Her father, Tom Heaney, who passed away in 2000, was a well-known publican in Castlebellingham from when he moved with his family from his native Cookstown in county Tyrone and purchased McBride’s public house.
In 2004 Jayne set out to compete in the New York Marathon to raise funds for the Beaumont Hospital Foundation and in honour of her Dad’s memory.
At the time, a director of the the Beaumont Hospital Foundation said runners like Jayne were the life and soul of their fundraising organisation and were putting other people before themselves. Many people will recall the dramatic pictures that appeared on TV and in the newspapers in 2006 when a petrol bomb struck the then Garda Jayne Heaney while she was on duty during the Love Ulster riots on O’Connell Street, Dublin.
Jayne was based at Santry Garda station and was serving as a member of the Garda Public Order Unit when a petrol bomb set her fireproof riot gear alight during the riots in February of that year.
At the time, people were horrified as they watched the TV news showing the Castlebellingham woman fighting the flames. But her colleagues quickly came to her aid.
Jayne and her colleagues were clothed in riot gear when they formed a cordon on O’Connell Street to control rioters.
A petrol bomb set then Jayne and her colleague Sgt Patrick McMenamin, alight.
A nineteen-year-old man was later arrested and convicted of the assault.
Jayne’s colleagues in An Garda Siochana were greatly saddened by her passing.
“She was a hugely popular member of the force and her colleagues were praying and hoping she would be okay. They are devastated by her loss,” a Garda source said.
Jayne is survived by husband Dermot, son Charlie, her mother Mary, sister Maura, brothers Paul and Brian, father-in-law Tony, brothers-in-law, nephews, relatives and friends. Her father Tom Heaney predeceased her.
Burial took place on Saturday last at Clonsilla churchyard following requiem Mass at the Church of St Thomas the Apostle Laurel Lodge.