Shatter 'confident' killers of garda will be caught
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said he has “absolute confidence” those behind the shooting dead of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe will be caught and put on trial, but insisted the killing was not linked to reduced Garda resources.
Garda and PSNI sources said the getaway vehicle used by the gang that carried out the murder could offer vital information. The VW Passat was recovered from the Fews forest beside the Cumsons Road between Newtownhamilton and Keady in south Armagh.
It had been destroyed by fire but gardaí were confident the chassis number could be used to determine key details.
Surveillance has been placed on a number of suspects in an effort to establish if people have gone into hiding or have deviated from their usual routine since the fatal gun attack, the first on a Garda member since Det Garda Jerry McCabe was shot dead in Adare, Co Limerick, in 1996.
Garda Donohoe, a father of two originally from Co Cavan and whose wife Caroline is also a garda in Dundalk, is to be waked at his home tonight in the Lordship townland north of Dundalk, Co Louth, where he was murdered.
The funeral tomorrow is expected to be one of the biggest seen in the State for years, with President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Shatter and a number of other politicians, as well as leading figures from the GAA, due to attend.
Mr Shatter yesterday visited Dundalk Garda station and spoke to Garda Donohoe’s colleagues, including Det Garda Joe Ryan, who was with his partner when he was shot dead during the botched robbery at Lordship Credit Union at Bellurgan on the Cooley Peninsula at 9.30pm last Friday.
Mr Shatter said the murder inquiry was now taking on a “particular focus”.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents rank-and-file members of the force, has said its members had long felt recent cuts to Garda resources had undermined them and compromised them.
GRA general secretary PJ Stone said while it would be inappropriate at this time to discuss the specifics of recent cutbacks, the general matter of Garda resourcing was an issue.
“I have listened to the Minister and the [Garda] commissioner reassuring the public, but who is reassuring the gardaí that we have the resources and the support? Because there is a great sense of isolation – and I won’t say fear – but there is trepidation.”
Mr Shatter said the killing was not linked to resources.
“Let’s not get deflected. Garda Donohoe lost his life because bad people intent on murder and mayhem and robbery conducted themselves in the manner we know. There’s no issue today of relevance to resources or Garda stations.”
The investigation into the killing is focusing on local criminals who are based in the north Louth and south Armagh area.
A similar robbery had been carried out in the town 18 months ago when a gang escaped with just over €60,000 before the Garda escort arrived.
The same gang are among the suspects for Friday’s attack.