Gardaí stand shoulder to shoulder in support of lost officer and family
It was one of the biggest gatherings of uniformed gardaí in the State’s history
As the cold drizzle fell and a sharp January wind whipped across the streets surrounding St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church in Dundalk yesterday, it was clear how the shooting dead of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe had both wounded and galvanised An Garda Síochána.
When the hearse crawled into the yard at the front of the church, colleagues of the dead man from the detective unit in Dundalk helped family members carry the coffin, and formed a tight body of men around the pallbearers.
Behind them came his heart-broken family, led by his wife, Caroline, who is also a garda based in Dundalk, and the couple’s two children, Amy (7) and Niall (6). Then the estimated 2,500 uniformed gardaí who had poured slowly in off the road.
Shoulder to shoulder
They were led by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and his senior colleagues, Deputy Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan the only woman among them.
When they fell in behind the chief mourners and made their way into the church, the main body of gardaí who knew they would be standing in the elements, for lack of room inside, filled the yard, wrapped up in their waterproof coats.
Among the mourners were Det Garda Donohoe’s parents, Peggy and Hugh; parents-in-law Bridie and Stephen; sisters Mary and Anne; brothers Colm, Martin and Alan; brothers-in-law Derek, Kieran and John; sister-in-law Angela and a number of nephews and nieces.
Det Garda Joe Ryan, who was on duty with Det Garda Donohoe when he was killed last Friday night, was present.
The message was clear: the Garda had come to bury one of its own and they stood shoulder to shoulder in support of him, his family and each other. It was one of the largest ever gatherings of gardaí in uniform in the history of the State.
The Tricolour-draped coffin, topped with Det Garda Donohoe’s cap and gloves, arrived from his home in Lordship, Bellurgan, in the picturesque Cooley peninsula in north Louth.
Judging by the fresh faces in a lot of the Garda uniforms, many of them would still have been in national school when gardaí last met like this to bury a colleague struck down by gunfire – Det Garda Jerry McCabe, who was killed during a Provisional IRA robbery in Adare, Co Limerick, in 1996.
His widow, Ann McCabe, was present yesterday, as was Det Garda Ben O’Sullivan, who was shot and wounded in the 1996 attack.
Inside the church, Derek Deloughrey, the twin brother of Det Garda Donohoe’s widow and himself a garda based in Limerick, moved to the altar to explain the significance of some of the gifts being brought up.