Cross-Border gang believed responsible for murder of garda in credit union raid
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has found a burned-out car in Co Armagh which it and gardaí believe was used by the gang that shot dead Det Garda Adrian Donohoe in Co Louth.
The vehicle was found yesterday at Darkley near Keady, 25 miles from the scene of Friday night’s attack, which one senior source described as “cold-blooded murder”.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter have expressed their revulsion at the killing and said no resources would be spared in the search for the murderers.
At close range
Det Garda Donohoe (41), a father of a daughter and son aged six and seven, was killed when he was shot at close range in the car park of the Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, on the Cooley peninsula at 9.30pm on Friday. Based in Dundalk, his wife Caroline is also a garda at the same station.
He lived in the Lordship townland and will be buried there on Wednesday after 12.30pm funeral Mass at St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church.
The raiders appeared to have very good knowledge of the road network in the area and of the times for the regular Friday night movement of cash from the credit union into Dundalk.
A gang of criminals from north Louth-south Armagh are the chief suspects. They raided the post office in 2011 and escaped then with just over €60,000 on a Friday night as armed gardaí were about to arrive to escort the cash into a bank night safe in Dundalk. The circumstances of that robbery are almost identical to last Friday’s raid. However, the investigation is in its infancy and the possible involvement of dissident republicans has not been ruled out. Det Garda Donohoe arrived at the credit union in an unmarked Garda car with Det Garda Joe Ryan, who was driving.
They were to provide an armed escort for a credit union member of staff who was to drive her car into nearby Dundalk to deposit a bag of money at a bank night safe.
When they arrived at the car park, the two armed detectives realised a vehicle and four men were already waiting there.
Det Garda Donohoe got out of his car to question the men about what they were doing when one of them discharged a shot from a shotgun, fatally wounding him on the right side of his face and head. He was given no warning and had not drawn his sidearm.
The raiders then continued with their robbery plans, shouting at Det Garda Ryan to stay back and threatening him at gunpoint. They threatened the credit union staff and took a bag with €4,000 before fleeing in their vehicle.