Mood of quiet resolve as mourners pay their respects at murdered garda's home

Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 00:00

A queue of mourners wound its way from the Donohoe family home when the door opened at midday for Adrian Donohoe’s wake.

Railway Village, the neat and modern development of substantial homes, had lowered its blinds out of old-fashioned respect.

The near-silence that accompanies shock was broken only by the rumble of the shuttle buses carrying visitors to the house from the local GAA club car park and distant playground screams from children at the local national school.

The Lordship community was out in force commiserating with Det Garda Donohoe’s young family and each other. They mingled with two other communities, the local GAA and the Garda.

GAA members in highvisibility jackets marshalled the traffic – cars from counties all over Ireland and buses of mourners from Clare, home county of the murdered garda’s widow Caroline.

The bad weather held off for a couple of hours as the queue lengthened to 50, 60 or 70 and the waiting time increased to about half an hour.

Low-key control

Gardaí on duty kept low-key control while their off-duty colleagues filed along the road towards the house on the Cooley mountainside with its pleasant views over Dundalk bay.

Across the grey waters and along the coast lay Clogherhead, where detectives believe the vehicle used in the robbery and killing was taken.

They arrived by the dozen, ordinary gardaí alongside those with braided peaks to their caps and pips on their shoulders. There was no hierarchy in evidence, no salutes and no pulling rank. Only the handshake.

Garda Representative Association general secretary PJ Stone was there, as were former commissioner Noel Conroy and Det Supt Jim Browne from Limerick.

Anyone, it seemed, with a Garda connection was there. Colleagues and friends from Templemore, from Cavan and Clare where the Donohoes grew up, from the far west and the south all mingled in quiet informality.

Just down the road at Bellurgan, detectives and other officers dug the ditches for clues. Rows of recently turned over soil was evidence of the work. Other officers scoured the taped-off crime scene at the car park beside the small Lordship credit union building.

Posies of flowers lay in sheaves against the gate pillar. A checkpoint notice announced the road was closed – which it was unless you were a local or you were there for the wake.

The occasional container lorry bound for Greenore, having been given a semi-official Garda nod, continued on along the road, but slowly.

Well-run operation

St Patrick’s GFC, an impressive modern complex, was the control centre for the well-run operation.

Volunteers directed the traffic and braved the heavy rain which pelted mourners after lunch while others inside prepared tea, coffee and substantial lunches for anyone who stepped inside and joined the line in the well-equipped sports hall.

There were no questions, no suspicion, just simple rural hospitality.

Det Garda Donohoe coached underage teams at “the mighty Pats” and now it was the GAA’s turn to repay the honour. The Tricolour was lowered alongside the green and white of the club colours.

Inside there was much talk about the awfulness of it all and the news that the dead man was only standing in for a colleague at short notice last Friday.

The chat was cliched but genuine. “Isn’t it a terrible business.” “Sure nobody deserved that.” “God rest him.”

A few were clearly emotional. But the mood seemed one of quiet resolve. Life, like the Garda and the GAA, will go on.