Man arrested over Det Adrian Donohoe murder is suspect for ATM robberies
Detained man believed to have close links to smuggling and dissidents in the Border area
Det Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead in 2013. Photograph: Garda/PA
Gardaí suspect he also helped to steal the car that was used by the raiders on the night of the incident. Security sources say there is strong evidence to place him at the scene that night and gardaí are confident of progressing the case.
He was arrested on Monday and is being detained at Dundalk Garda station, where he can be held for up to seven days before being released or charged.
Gardaí have mobile phone evidence showing the suspect’s phone was active until one hour before the robbery and then went completely silent until one hour after the robbery.
Records show that before turning off his phone, the suspect made a flurry of calls to Aaron Brady (30), who is also from south Armagh and is the only person to be convicted of the murder of Det Garda Donohoe to date.
Gardaí believe the man arrested on Monday was one of two men who drove to Clogherhead three days before the robbery to steal a getaway car, a VW Passat.
They also suspect he was involved in a very similar robbery at Lordship Credit Union in 2011, during which €22,000 was taken. Gardaí believe the success of this robbery prompted the gang to try it again.
The man is also a suspect is several other ATM robberies which occurred both before and after Det Garda Donohoe’s murder.
The man is believed to have close links to smuggling operations and dissident paramilitaries in the Border area.
He has a long list of convictions for matters including perverting the course of justice in relation to a rape investigation and for handling stolen property.
It is understood the suspect spent some time in the US following the murder, along with Brady and another suspect.
Brady, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, was last year sentenced to at least 40 years in prison for the capital murder of a garda following the longest trial in Irish criminal history. He was also sentenced to 14 years, to run concurrently, for robbery.
The trial heard Det Garda Donohoe and Det Garda Joe Ryan were escorting a routine cash pickup from the credit union when they were blocked in by the raiders. The detective was shot before he could draw his own firearm while Det Garda Ryan was held at gunpoint until the robbers escaped.
The man arrested on Monday was alluded to frequently during the trial but was not named so as not to endanger any future prosecution.
At the time Garda Deputy Commissioner John Twomey promised gardaí would continue to work on the case until all the suspects were brought to justice.