Gardaí set to make arrests in slain officer inquiry
Gardaí are hopeful they have gathered enough evidence to begin arresting suspects for the murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe in an armed robbery near his Co Louth home.
Garda sources said the vehicle used by the raiders which was found burned out in Co Armagh was now a key piece of evidence. Confirmation of details of when and where it had been stolen constituted a significant breakthrough in the investigation.
The black 08 D Volkswagen Passat was found in a wooded area at Darkley near Keady, Co Armagh, last Sunday morning but the chassis number enabled gardaí to find the owner.
The car was stolen from outside a house in Clogherhead, Co Louth, just days before being used 45km away in the raid that led to the murder of Det Garda Donohoe last Friday at Lordship Credit Union at Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, on the Cooley Peninsula.
A burglar stole the keys to the car from a house last Tuesday night or into the early hours of Wednesday morning. The vehicle was then driven away and gardaí believe it remained in the Louth area in the days leading up to the robbery.
Members of the Garda Technical Bureau have carried out an examination of the house in the hope it may still yield clues as to the burglar’s identity.
CCTV from businesses on several routes in and out of Clogherhead and the wider area are now being gathered in an effort to track the car’s movements.
The car may have been stolen by the gang specifically for use in last Friday’s attack or may have been stolen by a more junior criminal to sell on. If it was stolen and supplied to the gang, sources said the thief would be afforded entry to the witness protection programme if he so wished and if he had vital information to supply to the inquiry.
The investigation remains focused on a group of criminals from north Louth and across the Border into south Armagh . However, gardaí are keeping an open mind on the possible involvement of those linked to the republican movement. A number of suspects are under surveillance by the Garda and the PSNI.
Det Garda Donohoe’s family, friends and colleagues waked him at his home in Lordship yesterday ahead of his funeral this morning.
His remains were due to be removed to St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church, Dundalk, for Mass at 12.30pm with his burial to follow at Lordship Cemetery near the home he shared with his wife Caroline, who is also a garda based in Dundalk station, and his young son and daughter.
The State funeral was expected to be one of the biggest seen in the Republic in recent years. President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter will be among the mourners, with the Dáil adjourning to allow politicians from all parties to attend.
There will also be a very large number of Garda members in attendance, led by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and his senior officers, along with Det Garda Donohoe’s colleagues from Dundalk station where he had been based for almost all of his career. These include Det Garda Joe Ryan who was with his partner when he was shot.
Yesterday, the Irish League of Credit Unions offered a €50,000 reward for information leading to a breakthrough.