Death of Garda Adrian Donohoe: Expressions of Sympathy

Today I know I speak for everybody in this country and in this House because today our nation speaks as one. We speak of a man murdered in the service of his community and his country. We speak of a precious husband taken from his wife, of an adored father taken from his children. We speak of a dearly loved son reared by his mother and father to be courageous, upright and honest. They reared him to be loyal to his community, his people and his country.

Today we pay tribute to this good man who went out to work as normal on Friday but never came home. I assure everyone present, the members of his family and people throughout the country that we will do everything possible to bring those who murdered Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe to justice. We cannot and will not rest until we have done so.

It is inescapable that the idea behind An Garda Síochána, the members of which protect the peace, is the antithesis of what inspired those who set out to commit robbery last Friday night. Ultimately, what they stole was a human life. In doing so, they also stole a family's happiness and its dreams. They stole the future the members of that family imagined living together and all that would have happened to them. Adrian Donohoe's murder was not just an attack on the Garda, it was also an attack on the people and society. It is equally an attack on what binds us as a people and a nation, that is, our empathy and compassion. The people have expressed their revulsion at this murder and rallied behind the Garda. I remember well the murders of Garda Henry Byrne and Garda John Morley in 1980 and Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in 1996. The country felt the same sense of revulsion then as it does now.

I assure the family of Adrian Donohoe and the people that those who committed this barbarous act of cowardice will face the full rigour of the law. The penalty for those found guilty of killing a member of An Garda Síochána is a minimum mandatory sentence of 40 years imprisonment on conviction, which the individuals who committed this crime will serve. The Garda Commissioner has made it clear that the force will use every resource available to apprehend these murderers. In its efforts in this regard, it has the full support of the Government, the entire House and the people.

It is important to acknowledge the service members of An Garda Síochána provide, on our behalf, every day. That service may often be taken for granted. Without the willingness and courage of gardaí to protect communities, violence and disorder would certainly prevail over the rights and well-being of law-abiding people. This was the service Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was providing for his community when his life was so cruelly taken away. The law and authority of the State must and will not be challenged by the manner in which Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was murdered. May he rest in peace. To his family, I extend our deepest sympathy. This is a loss from which they will never recover. Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar an anam cróga dílis.

I join the Taoiseach, on my own behalf and that of the Labour Party, in expressing shock and disgust at the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe on Friday evening last. I express our sympathy to his wife, Caroline, their two children and all the Donohoe family. I also express our solidarity with and support for Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe's colleagues in An Garda Síochána.

An Garda Síochána provides a public service which forms a cornerstone of our democracy and which allows all of us, as citizens and residents of this country, the freedom to live our lives, conduct our business and raise our families in safety. In providing that service members of an Garda Síochána put their own safety on the line on each occasion on which they leave their families behind, answer a call for help or step up to perform their duty. As the callous murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe so starkly underlines, the members of An Garda Síochána are not just the guardians of our community, they are also the pillars of our community. An attack on a member of An Garda Síochána is an attack on all of us, as citizens, on our society and the community the force serves.

I pay tribute to Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, a man who lived by the ideals of public service and service to his community, a member of a force who, through his actions, exemplified the philosophy that An Garda Síochána will succeed, not by force of arms or numbers but on its moral authority as the servant of the people. In the course of providing that service it was not only Adrian Donohoe who made the ultimate sacrifice but also his wife, Caroline, their two children and all his family. They have our deepest sympathy. I express our solidarity with and support for Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe's colleagues and all the other members of An Garda Síochána. I also express our gratitude and support for their continued work in the service of their communities. We must all be united in our determination to find those who perpetrated this crime. I know An Garda Síochána is determined to do so, but all of us, as citizens, must assist it in that work.

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le bean agus le clann Adrian Donohoe agus cúnamh a thabhairt dá chomhghleacaithe in san Gharda Síochána agus seasamh leo. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Ar mo shon féin agus ar son mo pháirtí, ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Adrian Donohoe, lena bhean Caroline, lena mhac Niall agus lena iníon, Amy, de dheascadh an dúnmharaithe uafásach a tharla Dé hAoine seo caite. Tá sé do-chreidte go bhfuil daoine fós sa tír seo atá sásta dúnmharú den tsaghas seo a dhéanamh. Táimid go léir feargach agus tá muintir na tíre ar buile. Déanaimid go léir comhbhrón leis na gardaí uilig ar fud na tíre. Beimid i gcónaí buíoch dóibh as ucht na seirbhíse a thugann siad dúinn lá i ndiaidh lae.

The brutal act of violence perpetrated in Lordship, County Louth on Friday night was a bleak moment for the entire nation. In homes all across the country ordinary people were deeply shocked by the news of the cold blooded slaying of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe as he stood in the line of service for his country. The State has suffered a direct attack, An Garda Síochána has endured the loss of a dear colleague but, more profoundly, the family of Adrian Donohoe have lost a loving husband, a father, a brother and a son. We can never forget the human cost of this savage act of violence. The central role of An Garda Síochána runs deep in the family of Adrian Donohoe. I can only begin to imagine the pain of the loss his parents, brothers and sisters have so cruelly suffered. I offer my most sincere condolences to his wife, Caroline, who shared with Adrian not just a loving relationship but also the commitment to public service in the face of ever-present danger that underpins the work of An Garda Síochána.

There is something truly harrowing about young children being robbed of their father at such a fragile age and what is even more saddening is the violent circumstances in which he was taken. This is a loss that will strike at the heart of all families throughout the country.

The least we can offer to his son, Niall, and his daughter, Amy, is our deep sorrow and full unwavering support. The deep, irreplaceable loss which his family has suffered is felt by his colleagues in the force, not just in his station at Dundalk but also across the entire country. Those who wear the uniform of An Garda Síochána are bound together by the ethos of service that defines it. They stand guard against those who would plunge us into chaos. In the darkness of Friday night that entire force felt the loss of a brave member who gave his life in that duty. It is a testament to the resilience and determination of its members in the face of such tragedy that they have rallied around their fallen colleague to strive to bring the perpetrators to justice. Officers cancelled leave and came to work on their days off, while gardaí across the country have offered their help in pursuing the case. These actions stand as a reminder that the force will never be cowed by thugs. Detective Garda Joe Ryan's return to work to help the investigation in the aftermath of witnessing the callous murder of his colleague is a tribute to Detective Donohoe's character and the strength of fraternity in the force.

I offer Garda Commissioner Callinan and the members of the force our condolences. In his home area of Lordship, the town of Dundalk and his family home area of Kilnaleck, County Cavan the local communities are reeling from the shock of such a brutal loss. Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe embodied the best traditions of community engagement. For him, public service was not simply a job but a way of life. His contribution to local life outside his work with An Garda Síochána will be sorely missed by those whose lives he enriched. The people who knew him, played football with him, coached and mentored by him face an immense void at the heart of their communities.

Seventeen years ago the country was appalled by the barbaric murder of Jerry McCabe by the IRA in Adare, County Limerick who died in the line of duty protecting us from the armed thugs whose agenda was greed, murder and chaos. Adrian Donohoe died in defending us against that same dark agenda, protecting a community bank where ordinary people put away their hard and fairly earned money and helped to support other members. Those who committed the crime attacked the very principles of law and order on which the State is founded. The security and stability of society are upheld by the men and women of An Garda Síochána who have pledged to defend it against those who mean us harm. An attack on them is an attack on the people; it is an attack on all of us. We must stand behind those who stand up for us against the scourge of violent criminality.

The name of Adrian Donohoe will now join that of Jerry McCabe and many others on the walls of the cenotaph memorial at Garda Headquarters, alongside those members of the force who paid the ultimate price. Let us all work together to ensure the families they left behind are cared for, that those with blood on their hands face the full rigour of justice and the State they died defending justifies their sacrifice.

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón ó chroí a dhéanamh do chairde, do theaghlach agus do chomhghleacaithe an bhleachtaire Garda Adrian Donohoe. Aontaím leis an méid a dúirt an Taoiseach, an Tánaiste agus ceannaire Fhianna Fáil. On my own behalf, I extend my deepest sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. On behalf of Sinn Féin, I express especially our solidarity and sincerest condolences to Adrian's wife, Caroline, and his children, Amy and Niall. This killing has shocked the entire community, especially in the very closely knit Cooley area in County Louth, in south Armagh and across the island. I did not know Adrian Donohoe personally, but I know many people who did and I have spoken to them in recent days. He was a valued and widely respected member of our local community and An Cumann Lúthcleas Gael and was involved in all aspects of life in that beautiful area where there is a deep sense of loss and shock in every family.

The death of Garda Donohoe has also provoked memories of the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe and the wounding of Garda Ben O'Sullivan in June 1996. I apologise to Mrs. McCabe and the McCabe family, Garda Ben O'Sullivan and the families of other members of the State forces who were killed by republicans in the course of the conflict. I am very sorry for the pain and loss inflicted on these families. No words of mine can remove that hurt and dreadful deeds cannot be undone. However, I restate that the resolve of Sinn Féin and the majority of Irish people is to ensure there will never, ever be a recurrence of conflict. Members of An Garda Síochána do a dangerous job and take risks for all of us. Adrian Donohoe showed great courage when he confronted armed criminals at Lordship. He died in defence of other citizens. Once again, I appeal to everyone and anyone with any information on this crime to co-operate with the Garda or the PSNI. I hope those responsible are speedily brought to justice. My thoughts and prayers are with Adrian's family and colleagues at this very difficult time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

I, too, express my sympathy and that of the Independent Deputies to Caroline, his wife, and the family and Garda colleagues of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe whose loss is an unspeakable tragedy. It is a very sad day for the country. The news broke last Friday night that the life of one of those charged with serving and protecting citizens - with his Garda colleague, Garda Joe Ryan - was taken violently in the course of his duty. The callous taking of the life of a member of An Garda Síochána is a most serious attack on the institutions of the State. The reaction of all right-thinking people and An Garda Síochána since last Friday night has displayed that revulsion. People by the thousand are signing books of condolence. I call on all right-thinking people in every community in the country, North and South, who have the interests of our democracy and the State at heart to reflect on what happened. This event may be the catalyst which will instill in the minds of the people that An Garda Síochána, in the main an unarmed force and which wishes to remain that way, cannot survive and do its job without the support of the public. It is a two-way street. I encourage every right-thinking citizen to get involved in his or her community, whether in Neighbourhood Watch or Community Alert, and banish the word "informer" from our vocabulary forever. We should give all possible assistance to An Garda Síochána.

We have seen that the community has lost a special man. Not only did he serve An Garda Síochána, but he was also an exemplary community man who epitomised the best ideals of An Garda Síochána. He served his country, community and family. Above all, he shared his skills and talents with others, young and old. He was a keen listener and sportsman. He was an excellent member of An Garda Síochána who could get results and was of the community, worked in the community and supported the community. I hope the loss to his family can be overcome. I hope also that this House will ensure his sacrifice will not have been in vain by providing An Garda Síochána with the resources and support it deserves and expects. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Just after 9.30 p.m. last Friday night I was shocked and horrified when I received a call to inform me that a brave young Garda, Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, had been brutally murdered while protecting the community.

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.

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.

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.

The men and women who serve our communities should not have to put on their uniforms in the morning, wave goodbye to their families and wonder whether they will make it home that night. It is important at this time to acknowledge the work they undertake in very difficult circumstances. Adrian Donohoe died while trying to protect his community. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say our thoughts are with his family, his friends, his colleagues and An Garda Síochána at this very sad time. Ar dheis de go raibh a anam.

I call Deputy Finian McGrath, spokesperson for the Technical Group.

I thank the Leas-Ceann Comhairle for the opportunity to speak about the sad and horrific murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. That was a sad day for his wife, his children, his family and his Garda colleagues. It is difficult enough in life to lose a wife, husband or partner through illness or natural causes but it is a nightmare to lose a husband, father and colleague through the deliberate ending of life and gunning down of an innocent man like this. My heartfelt and deepest sympathy goes out to all his family.

All human life is special and this grave act of slaying a man while doing his duty is not acceptable in any society. Whether it is a young garda with a young family or a young plumber it is not on - it is not acceptable.

Today at Kevin Heffernan's funeral in Marino, another great GAA man and community man, I expressed my sympathy on the death of Adrian to some of the gardaí on duty. They were devastated. The gardaí in my constituency were still shocked but they told me that they were greatly lifted by the number of people who did what I did in expressing sympathy and support to them. We should never lose sight of that in these difficult and sad times.

Adrian Donohoe's family are in huge pain now. There is a huge loss which they will never get over, and they will never get over the horrific way he was killed last Friday night. Some will blame drugs while some will blame a dysfunctional and violent character. I cannot understand the way Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot down without even a chance. It was a violent and needless act. It was an injustice to Adrian and, above all, it took a husband from his wife and a father from his children. Again, I express my deepest sympathy to all his family and his Garda colleagues.

Ba mhaith liom comhbhrón ó chroí ar shon mhuintir Chontae Lú a dhéanamh le clann Adrian. Dúnmharú uafásach é seo a tharla i gContae Lú agus is méala mór a bhás dá chlann go léir agus don tír ar fad. Beidh cuimhne go deo air.

On behalf of all the people of County Louth I would like to offer my sympathy as a representative of that county to the family and particularly the wife and children of the late Detective Garda Donohoe. He has made the supreme sacrifice. He has lost his life in defence of democracy. He has died for us to protect our democracy and we will never forget him and the sacrifice he, and men before him in the Garda Síochána, has made. I think also of Sergeant Patrick Morrissey who was murdered in my county by murderous criminals.

Detective Garda Donohoe will never be forgotten and the hearts of all those in our community go out to him. To paraphrase Yeats, Detective Garda Donohoe was a great man in his prime, confronting murderous men. It is time for all this to end and hopefully it will end it because I am certain, as the Taoiseach and the Minister said, that there will be sentences of a minimum of 40 years for those who have perpetrated this evil and awful crime on this wonderful family and on the Irish people.

Today we have an opportunity to contribute on what has been a brutal and callous murder in the north east and particularly in County Louth. A detective garda was protecting his local community finances in the credit unions on the Cooley peninsula. As more details emerge, the planning and the ruthlessness of the gang involved becomes clear.

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was a much-loved member of the Garda force in north Louth and particularly in the Lordship-Bellurgan area where he lived. His work for the local GAA club, St. Patrick's, was legendary. Coaching, mentoring and fuelling the spirit of the community was par for the course with him. He really was a true Corinthian. His spirit and presence will live forever in the near end of the Cooley peninsula and north Louth. To his wife Caroline and family, his father and mother in Cavan and extended family, and his colleagues in the Garda Síochána we send our sincerest sympathy. Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

I am not speaking on behalf of the Government or Fine Gael or for myself in my role as a Louth Deputy. I just happen to be a Deputy for County Louth, but what I am about to say comes from me personally. I am a proud Louth man and a proud Irish man. I am proud not only to have known Adrian Donohoe but to have considered him a friend.

The recent cold-blooded murder of Adrian transcends politics, sport and even communities. This atrocity has robbed two beautiful children, Amy and Niall, of a father. It has left Caroline without a devoted husband, a community without a selfless member, and a nation in deep shock.

This brutal slaying of a brave Irish citizen has galvanised the nation. In my memory I cannot recall a greater outpouring of grief. The Irish people have responded with dignity and decency - nothing more than I would have expected. My office in Dundalk has fielded calls and e-mails from all corners of Ireland and from as far away as the United States, England and Australia. Every message has been similar with three main themes - condolences to the family; brave Irish men; and, cowards. I wish to say no more on that.

There are certain moments in life when one can remember exactly where one was when one heard of a particular event. Recent examples we can recall include the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York or the tsunami in Asia. These events shocked the world. I will always remember where I was when I heard about Adrian. What happened last Friday shocked this nation. As I look around the House I am sure my colleagues can also recall where they were last Friday. I am sure they can recall the hollow feeling in the pit of their stomachs. It is a feeling that is hard to describe. One feels almost still, empty and more than just stunned. One is more than gutted and shocked. One is empty and in an almost bizarre feeling of irrelevance. Nothing else really matters. That is the way I felt.

The people of Lordship and County Louth and the citizens of Ireland lost someone special last Friday. Adrian was a beacon, a tower of strength, a bastion of goodness. Adrian was a true Gael, a true Irishman. He may have left us but he will never be forgotten. Adrian, I pray we meet again some time. Rest in peace.

Like all my colleagues, I was shocked and saddened by the cold-blooded murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. Every day and night the members of An Garda Síochána selflessly serve the country, sometimes at great risk to themselves. They serve us and protect us, not just as individual citizens. They protect the very fabric of our society and the foundations of our democracy. During the darkest days of the Troubles when some sought to undermine the State the members of An Garda Síochána stood firm. We stood in solidarity with our protectors then. We stand in solidarity and in sadness with all of them now.

We can never repay the debt we owe to Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, his family and his colleagues. We can only humbly acknowledge his bravery and his service. The fatal shooting of Detective Garda Donohoe is an horrific crime and a tragic loss to his family. On my behalf and on behalf of the people who I am proud to represent, may he rest in peace.

Members rose.