Burned-out car probably used in garda's murder
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said the car found burned out near a forest in Co Armagh is probably the vehicle used by the gang that shot dead Det Garda Adrian Donohoe in Co Louth last Friday evening.
Mr Shatter said investigations were going on to establish a link between the car, a Volkswagen Passat, and the robbery.
“The likelihood is that it was the car that was engaged in the robbery,” he said.
“There’s still work to be done in that context. I obviously don’t want to say too much on some of the detail of the investigation that’s taking place. A very intense investigation is taking place and the Police Service of Northern Ireland and an Garda Síochána are working hand in hand, exchanging information and working together to ensure justice is done.”
The Minister also said anyone convicted of murdering a member of an Garda Síochána should serve a 40-year sentence without remission, as provided for by the criminal code.
He made his comments after meeting colleagues of Det Garda Donohoe in Dundalk. Mr Shatter described the shooting as an “appalling, callous act”.
In an interview this evening, Mr Shatter told RTÉ's Drivetime that he shared the views attributed to Ann McCabe, wife of murdered Det Garda Jerry McCabe, in which she said killers of gardaí should serve time without remission.
"I believe that any individual who takes the life of a member of an garda siochana they’re not only attacking the individual guard, they are also attacking the entire force and indeed they’re attacking the State and I want to be absolutely clear that a sentence of that nature should apply," he said.
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 are 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 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 Síochana have the full support of the Government.
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 a garda at the same station.
“Everyone is dedicated to ensuring that those responsible for what happened on Friday evening are brought to justice.” The Minister said he was “confident those who are responsible for the unspeakable murder that took place will be brought before the courts and justice will be done,” Mr Shatter said.
He has signed a book of condolences in the Det Garda Donohoe’s Garda station 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.”
The Minister added that he has been in contact with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Teresa Villiers.