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Death of Garda Adrian Donohoe: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 790 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter] When the news spread, the reaction of people across the country was the same - a mixture of shock and revulsion. The people rightly have great respect and admiration for members of An Garda Síochána and the work they do in protecting the community. They regard an attack on a member of the force for what it is - an attack on the community itself and on the State and its institutions. There are no words strong enough to condemn the evil people who carried out such a brutal and despicable act.

I join the party leaders in again expressing my deep condolences to those who have been most directly affected by this great tragedy: Adrian's wife, Caroline; his children, Amy and Niall; his parents, Hugh and Peggy; his siblings and extended family; and his friends and colleagues. Their grief will endure but I hope, in time, they will find some fortitude in the great outpouring of support from so many decent people right across the country. We have seen people queuing to sign books of condolence in various locations, including Dundalk Garda station and the Mansion House in Dublin.

The men and women of An Garda Síochána are called on frequently to place their lives on the line in order that the entire community can be safe, but it is still a great shock for them when they lose a colleague. It is a shock for them, for Members of this House and for everybody. Therefore, it is important that we say to members of An Garda Síochána today, on behalf of the people we represent, that we stand by them at this very difficult time and that they have our full support in the important work they are doing, particularly in bringing to justice those responsible for the despicable event that took place on Friday night.

As the House would expect, I have been in regular contact with the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, since this dreadful event. Yesterday, I visited Dundalk Garda station where I met many of Adrian's colleagues. I was briefed on the progress being made in the investigation. I also spoke to Detective Garda Joe Ryan, who was with Adrian on the fateful night. His dedication to duty was such that he was providing every help and assistance to his colleagues conducting the investigation. He was deeply engaged in it while clearly grief-stricken by what had occurred. I can tell the House that the depth of the grief I experienced in the Garda station is matched only by the resolute determination that those who carried out this evil act will be brought to the justice they deserve.

The Garda is devoting considerable resources to this investigation. As the Garda Commissioner has said, there is no question of there not being sufficient resources to carry out an investigation of this kind. The Garda has a great range of legal powers available to it, and this House, rightly, has in its laws provided that anyone convicted of the murder of a Garda must face a minimum mandatory sentence of 40 years. I emphasise that this is the minimum sentence.

I assure the House that the Garda is receiving every possible assistance from the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, Mr. David Ford, telephoned me early on Saturday morning to offer his condolences and assure me that the PSNI will do everything it can to help. Ms Theresa Villiers, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, also gave such assurance. I never had any doubt that the PNSI would offer its full support given the excellent relations and ongoing everyday co-operation between the two police forces. Having said that, I am still very grateful to both Ministers for making contact with me.

There has, understandably, been speculation about who was responsible for this brutal act. I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speculate publicly about that, but I can say one thing with certainty: whatever its background, it was a cold-blooded gang whose members deliberately took the life of a member of An Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner has emphasised publicly that there are people who have information about what happened and they should come forward. We should all add our voice to that appeal, which I know is supported by all Members of this House. Those who have information that might help track down these despicable, cowardly murderers but choose to stay silent should consider carefully how they would feel if it were their husband, father, son or brother who had been murdered in cold blood.

I will, of course, pass on to the Garda Commissioner the messages of sympathy and support expressed here today. I know they will be communicated to the family. It is important that this House has united, not just in expressing its heartfelt sympathy but also in making clear its determination that the evil cowards who committed such an unspeakable act will not prevail and that they will be brought to justice before our courts, which will make appropriate decisions.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins I, too, express my deepest sympathy to the family of deceased Garda Adrian Donohoe, including his wife, Caroline, and his children, Niall and Amy. As previous speakers have said, we were all absolutely repulsed and disgusted when we learned late on Friday evening of the act that took place in Lordship. In the intervening days, we have all read and heard about the extreme dedication of the late Detective Garda Donohoe to his job and community in Lordship and the wider County Louth area. We are all suffering as a result of his loss.

The loss of Adrian reminds us of the death of the late Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and other members of the Garda who have been killed during the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families also, because this recent event reminds them of the awful events that were visited upon them.

Many tributes have been paid to Detective Garda Donohoe but the biggest tribute that can now be paid to him is to bring his killers to justice. I join all the other speakers who have called on those who have information relevant to the crime. Anybody with information has an onus to pass it on to An Garda Síochána in order that the killers may be brought to justice. No justice will be done until such time as the killers are put behind bars, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 40 years.

I express my sympathy to the wider Garda Síochána community and thank its members for their sterling work in our communities in facing up to those forces who seek to work against the State and its citizens. Every single day, gardaí seek to uphold law and order and stand up to the criminals who are working against us. The role of gardaí in our public service is completely different from that of many others, as has been said. When gardaí go out daily to do their jobs, they face risks that are different from those faced by anybody else when doing his or hers. It behoves all of us to support and stand behind An Garda Síochána in doing its duty. This is why we must unite, as we are doing today, to express our solidarity with and support for members of An Garda Síochána and their families. We must work with the force in every way we can to support it in doing its job for us. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. It is hard to imagine the agony and grief that his wife and children are going through. There are no words that could even begin to ease their suffering. It truly is a tragedy and an unfathomable loss.

The community of Lordship in County Louth, the people of Ireland, my Dáil colleagues and I were shocked by the callous murder of Detective Garda Donohoe. If any person has information that might bring his killers to justice, he or she should go to the Garda or the PSNI with it immediately.

Gardaí deal with high-risk, dangerous circumstances day in, day out, and that takes nerve. Gardaí take these risks in order that the rest of us do not have to. It takes courage and bravery at a level that is difficult for the rest of us to understand.


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