Thousands of mourners were on hand at St. Joseph’s Redemptorist Church in Dundalk, Co Louth to pay their respects to 41-year-old detective garda Adrian Donohoe who was shot while on duty last week.
Donohoe is the first garda member to be killed while on duty since 1996. He was shot on January 25th during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan. Donohoe’s colleague, Det Garda Joe Ryan, was held at gunpoint during the incident that saw burglars make off with €4,000.
Reports indicate that the burglars knew that the Credit Union would be escorted by gardai at the time of their break-in. Donohoe was reportedly filling in for another colleague that night.
Family, friends, gardai and politicians all came out for the state funeral held on Wednesday for Donohoe in Dundalk.
It is estimated that around 2,500 uniformed gardaí, and up to 1,000 plain-clothes officers, attended the mass. Donohoe’s colleague Det Garda Joe Ryan was among the pallbearers of the tri-color draped coffin.
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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Michael D Higgins, and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan were all present for the funeral processions. Northern Ireland’s Secretary Theresa Villiers, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams, Justice Minister David Ford, Chief Constable Matt Baggott were also in attendance.
Donohoe’s brothers Colm and Alan expressed their gratitude for the community’s “comforting and humbling” support as they cope with the “senseless and tragic loss” of Adrian.
While Adrian’s brothers said their entire family is “devastated,” they thanked Adrian’s widow Caroline Donohoe for making Adrian “the happiest and proudest husband and dad.”
Commissioner Martin Callinan thanked citizens who lined up at their local police stations to sign Books of Condolences. He added that the police force’s resolve to bring the criminals to justice was “strengthened.”
“No words can adequately express the great sense of loss and revulsion of the Donohoe family,” said Callinan, “the family of the Garda Síochána and the wider public in learning of the cold-blooded murder last Friday night.”
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The Irish League of Credit Unions has offered a reward of €50,000 for information which might lead to arrests or prosecutions. Irish detectives are examining CCTV footage taken from local businesses and the credit union.
Gardai believe that the robbery and death of Garda Donohoe is in connection with a burnt-out car discovered on Sunday which was stolen a few days prior to the murder. The PSNI are currently conducting a forensic investigation on the car.
BBC News reports that, “While Irish police have not ruled anything out at this stage, they suspect that a cross-border gang was involved in the robbery and murder, and that gang operates in the north Louth-south Armagh area.”
On Tuesday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said to the Dail that “Let me assure everyone here, everyone in his family and in the country that we will do everything possible to bring those who murdered Det Garda Donohoe to justice.”
"We cannot rest until we have done so."