Gardaí have 'all resources' to find detective's murderers
The Garda Síochána has all of the necessary resources and legislation available to it in order to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said today.
Mr Shatter said it was "totally unacceptable" that any member of the Garda force should lose their life. No one would rest until those responsible were brought before the courts, he said.
Gardaí had the support of the Government and his own personal support in the work they were doing and he knew it was their intention to bring to justice those responsible for the "horrendous and callous act".
The detective, a father of two in his 40s, was gunned down during a raid on Lordship credit union in Belurgan, less than half a mile from his home, on Friday night.
Earlier, Garda sources said the four-man armed gang had escaped with €4,000.
The gang had been lying in wait for the isolated Credit Union to close. They would have known that a Garda escort unit would have been in attendance.
Tonight the crime scene at Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, near the border with Northern Ireland, remained sealed off as Gardaí continued evidential examinations. A cordon extending for several miles was widened.
Up to 100 investigators from the Special Detective Unit and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation are involved. Other police have cut short holidays and come in on rest days to help. They are trawling through hours of CCTV footage and have drawn up a list of known suspects.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has also offered assistance in what has become a cross-border manhunt.
Detectives in Dundalk believe a criminal gang rather than dissident republicans were responsible but were not ruling anything out.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said: “There are up to four people involved in the actual raid. How many were involved beyond that will remain to be seen. We will put all our energy into finding out precisely who was behind this robbery.
“It is too early to speculate whether there was a subversive element to this or whether they are ordinary criminals.”
In their latest appeal for information, detectives in Dundalk said they were particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw a dark-coloured vehicle — possibly a Volkswagen Passat — driving erratically in the area on Friday night.
Adrian Donohoe’s murder is the first of a serving Garda officer for 17 years and sparked widespread revulsion throughout Irish society.
President Michael D Higgins was among those leading the tributes. He described the killing as a dreadful crime and said all Irish people would be truly appalled.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the murder was an outrageous and appalling act of cold-blooded violence.
There has been cross-border support from Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford and Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.
A full postmortem took place on Det Garda Donohoe's remains yesterday.
Locals in the close-knit rural community said they had been left stunned by the murder of such a well known and popular figure.
Cardinal Sean Brady said he was “deeply upset” to hear the news of the fatal shooting of Det Garda Donohoe.
“It has shocked and horrified the entire community,” he said.
Parish priest Fr Paidraig Murphy, who was at the scene minutes after the shooting, has spent the weekend trying to comfort his widow Caroline — also a Garda officer — and two young children Amy and Niall.
He said: “Like anybody, how do you cope in a situation like that. They are gradually coming to terms with it. They have had great support from colleagues and the local community but, there is still a human element — there is a wife, Caroline who has lost her husband and children who have lost their father.”
In an online death notice the dedicated policing family said Det Garda Donohoe was a beloved husband and adored father who would be forever missed.
Fr Murphy said the whole community was stunned by the cold-blooded killing.
He added: “It is like a dark cloud has descended on our parish. People are genuinely shocked and bewildered. Because he had been here for the last number of years and his children attend the local school, I think, makes it all the more poignant. He was known as a local. He was a big man with a big heart.”
At St Patrick’s Gaelic Athletics Club in Lordship, where Adrian Donohoe helped coach seven-year-old footballers, a flag was flown at half mast. A book of condolence was also opened and dozens of friends, neighbours and sporting colleagues congregated inside to remember the popular police officer who died protecting their community.
Alan Duffy, St Pat’s chairman, said: “Adrian Donohoe was a hero and a role model. We are now having to teach children something that we never thought we would have to do — that evil has been visited upon our community.”
Mr Duffy described Det Garda Donohoe as the heart and soul of the GAA club and said his death had left a huge void.
A book of condolence has been opened at Dundalk garda station where the murdered officer was based. Former colleagues and members of the public have been attending the station with floral tributes and leaving messages of support for the Donohoe family.
Prayers were said at religious services in the area and across the country today.
The Dáil will this week debate a Fianna Fáil private members' motion calling on the Government to revisit the decision to close 100 Garda stations this week.
Justice spokesman Niall Collins ecalled on Miinister for Justice Alan Shatter to put aside his plan to close Garda stations, to cut resources and to force cuts to garda numbers
"This motion was scheduled last week ahead of the closure of 100 additional garda stations nationwide," Mr Collins said.
"The brutal murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in the line of duty on Friday night will bring added poignancy to this debate and will, I am confident, ensure that the debate take place in a respectful and considered way. It will also give representatives on all sides of the House an opportunity to express and vote solidarity with an Garda Síochána in a concrete and meaningful way."
Additional reporting: PA