Police probe Armagh link to Garda murder

Published Monday, 28 January 2013
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Police are investigating a possible link between a burnt out car found close to the border in south Armagh and the murder of a Garda detective in Co Louth.

Police probe Armagh link to Garda murder
The burnt out car was found close to the border on Sunday afternoon. (© Pacemaker)

A cross border hunt has been launched for the gang who shot dead Detective Adrian Donohoe while he was escorting a cash delivery van to a credit union in the rural village of Lordship on Friday at around 9.30pm.

The gang, who opened fire on the officer without warning, made off with €4,000 during the raid at Cooley Road.

A technical examination on a burnt out Volkswagen Passat is being carried out in connection with the murder.

The vehicle was found in Fews Forest near Keady in Co Armagh on Sunday afternoon, about 25 miles away from the shooting in Co Louth.

The possibility that a Northern Ireland-based gang was involved in the killing of Garda Donohoe has not been ruled out.

The 41-year-old and his wife Caroline were both officers at Dundalk Garda Station. Adrian Donohoe is the first serving police officer to be killed in the Republic in 17 years.

Parish priest Padraig Murphy said that a cloud of darkness has descended upon the local community.

Recalling Friday night's events, the priest said: "It was a harrowing scene - people were totally bewildered and could not believe what had happened.

"This is a rural community, a close knit community in many respects, and a very, very scenic area of county Louth. The last thing we would have expected was something of this nature to happen in our community."

Fr Murphy continued: "This is not something we could have envisaged."

The local priest said the victim was "very much devoted" to his wife, but particularly his children.

"He absolutely adored his two children," he said, before going on to describe him as "a big man, with a big heart."

Fr Murphy said his family have been left "absolutely devastated," finding the fatal shooting "difficult to come to terms with."

At the victim's local GAA club, St Patrick's, the flags fly at half mast as a mark of respect.

A book of condolence has been opened for the man who coached for underage teams at the club.

Alan Duffy, the club's chairman, described him as "a role model for the club's teenage boys."

"Adrian was a big man in stature. He was a gentleman - very, very generous, very, very kind.

"He gave an awful lot to the club.

"It's going to be a huge void."

The First and deputy First Ministers offered their sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.

"We must all work together on both sides of the border to make sure they are caught for this murderous deed," they said in a joint statement.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "It has left a family without a husband and father and the Garda Siochana without a brave and valued member."

On Monday, gardaí carried out searches around the murder scene. The Flurry River outside Lordship was also searched by specialist police divers for potential clues.

"We have in excess of over one hundred Gardaí involved, included specialist national and regional units," a spokesperson from An Garda Síochána said.

"We are liaising closely with our colleagues in the PSNI and acknowledge their support and assistance.

"An Garda Síochána would like to acknowledge the huge amount of public support we have received since the tragic event," they added.

"This support means a great deal to the family, friends and colleagues of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe and is a source of great comfort at this difficult time."

A funeral service for Mr Donohoe is expected to be held at St Joseph's Church, Dundalk on Wednesday.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Danny in Ulster wrote (667 days ago):
Realist - Are you actually trying to suggest loyalists could be behind this crime? Do you actualy think that: a. loyalists would venture into Co Louth to commit a robbery? b. that they would then make their getaway to republican south Armagh? If so you need a serious "reality check"! As far as I am aware, loyalist groups have never attacked or murdered a Garda officer, only the IRA and republican terrorist groups have that shame to their name during their disgusting campaign to "free Ireland"...
Danny in Ulster wrote (669 days ago):
I wonder what sort of "Northern Ireland based gang" could operate without fear of capture in south Armagh? Could it be that a "dissident republican" gang has shown what they are really made of - thieves, criminals, and murderers... R.I.P. Detective Donohoe, murdered by cowards!
Kev in Ulster wrote (669 days ago):
This area is run by Irish Republican gangs who've been allowed to operate with impunity for far too long. Hopefully this dreadful act will be the beginning of the end for these vile groups.
Charles in Lisbellaw wrote (669 days ago):
Thieving murderers dumping and burning their getaway car in South Armagh. Impossible !!. Sure no one would ever believe that !!.
Realist in England wrote (669 days ago):
This seems so utterly wrong on so many levels. The amount stolen was only 4k - who can possibly consider killing over such an amount. Tactically, both officers were armed but clearly willing to surrender - there was no need to shoot the man anyway. In terms of alarms being raised, firing would be likely to get other gardaí/Free State soldiers out at least as quickly as allowing the other officer to radio through (which he probably did anyway). My questions - and they are very serious question whose answers have potentially profound repercussions are these - who would be able to do it, who would choose to do it and why? Clearly criminals, republicans and loyalists all have guns. They could do it. Who would choose to - criminals aren't likely to want the amount of police attention that they are likely to receive as a result of this killing. Republicans have enough on their plate without wanting to restart the civil war with what, by any standards, would be a war crime (not giving a chance to surrender) even if they did. This report mentions the burnt out car in south Armagh. I doubt a 'link to north Meath' story would have made the headlines. Whatever the actual cause - many people (myself included) are left feeling slightly revolted at the idea republicans may have been involved. So I ask myself - who would benefit from people blaming republicans, directly or by turning a blind eye to criminals doing it? I doubt loyalists or their backers would mind killing a Garda. Just a thought. Whoever did it, I hope they are caught and jailed for this completely inexcusable deed.
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