North's police service to work with Garda in search for killers
The North’s Minister for Justice David Ford has assured the Government that the PSNI will co-operate fully in the search for the killers of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe.
Speaking in Dublin before he travelled to Dundalk yesterday, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he had been speaking to his Northern counterpart from an early stage in the investigation.
He said the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Teresa Villiers had also been in contact.
“Everyone is dedicated to ensuring that those responsible for what happened on Friday evening are brought to justice,” Mr Shatter said. Describing the death of Det Garda Donohoe as “an appalling, callous act”, he said he had “the greatest faith in the gardaí, working in full co-operation with the PSNI” and was “confident those who are responsible for the unspeakable murder . . . will be brought before the courts and justice will be done”.
Mr Shatter then travelled to Co Louth, spending more than an hour in Dundalk Garda station where Det Garda Donohoe had been based.
He signed a book of condolence and left a floral wreath with a hand-written card. It read: “Sincere condolences on the loss of a courageous and young life cut tragically short. Alan Shatter.”
While at Dundalk Garda station the Minister met Det Garda Joe Ryan, who was held at gunpoint after seeing his colleague shot in the head at close range.
“I think we have to admire his courage. He’s obviously still upset,” Mr Shatter said. “I think everyone in the station is understandably upset but I think they’re very focused on bringing to justice those who are responsible for the barbaric and callous murder that took place last Friday evening.”
He said the killers were either “criminal terrorists flying the Tricolour for convenience” or “organised or disorganised criminals . . . with no respect for life”. “I see what occurred effectively as an attack not just on an individual garda but on all members of the force, essentially an attack on the State, and this will not be tolerated.”
Mr Shatter maintained that anyone convicted of murdering a member of an Garda Síochána should serve a 40-year sentence without remission, as currently provided for by the criminal code.
In an interview later with RTÉ, Mr Shatter said he shared the views of Ann McCabe, wife of murdered Det Garda Jerry McCabe, who had said killers of gardaí should serve time without remission.
But Mr Shatter was critical of comments by PJ Stone of the Garda Representative Association in which he said gardaí were working “in fear and trepidation” and were not getting the support of Government.
“Any issue relating to reforms that are taking place within the Garda Síochána is an issue to be addressed on another day,” he said.
“He well knows, and he should know, that the murder of Adrian Donohoe is nothing to do with issues of resources. He well knows that the Garda Síochána have the full support of the Government.”
Mr Shatter was one of more than 20,000 people to sign books of condolence for Det Garda Donohoe in Co Louth since the weekend.
Separately, two members of Drogheda Borough Council, one a former detective garda, have opened a credit union account to create a fund that they say will be made available to assist and support gardaí investigating the murder.
Cllr Richie Culhane (FG), a former member of the Special Branch, and Cllr Kevin Callan (FG), a barrister, opened the account at Drogheda Credit Union.
Anyone wishing to donate may do so at any credit union or financial institution by referencing Drogheda Credit Union Account 21714950 Sort Code 90 33 22, reference number 54819.