“It is something that will never be forgotten. For us it is still all too real.”
Those are the words of Chief Superintendent Pat McGee, head of the Dundalk station and Louth garda division, and they are words that express the sincere and heartfelt loss garda officers at the station have experienced since the cold-blooded murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe just one year ago.
“We are grateful to the people of Dundalk and Cooley, and throughout the region, for their great support at the time and throughout the year,” the Chief Superintendent said.
“The sense of loss is the same now as it was then, for his colleagues, for those who knew him well in the community, and the great loss of course to his family.
“It is something never to be forgotten. It is still very real.
“But we are so grateful for all the public’s support.”
Chief Supt McGee was a sergeant at Dundalk garda station when Det. Garda Adrian Donohoe first came to Dundalk after graduating at Templemore garda training college. That was 19 years ago and the Chief Supt. remembers a gifted young officer who was very much involved in the life of the station and the community.
He was loyal to his superiors, his colleagues, and the community. A kind well-respected professional police officer, and a popular guy.
“Unfortunately over the years,” Chief Supt McGee said, “a number of people in the force have lost their lives, but you never expect it to happen in this type of way.
“You never expect it to arrive at your door.”
Both he and his colleagues were deeply moved by the public support and turnout at the state funeral in Dundalk last January.
“It was absolutely huge. I never saw anything like it in my career. And the support from the people of Dundalk, Cooley, and nationally, and even outside of Ireland was so much appreciated.
“We are very grateful to have received so much assistance from the public. But there are still people out there who can help and we would ask anybody who knows something to have a long think, to really help if they possibly can.”
At a cross-border conference in Dundalk in September attended by An Garda Siochana and the PSNI, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said there had been over 3,600 lines of inquiry in the murder.
The annual conference is held by both forces to look at possible criminal threats and exchange intelligence information on cross border crime. This year it had a greater significance. These lines of inquiry were “to ensure that this type of crime is, as far as possible, eliminated through effective crime prevention methodologies and ensuring all possible leads are thoroughly and professionally exhausted regardless of where it emanates from, be it north or south of the border,” the Commissioner said.
Commissioner Callinan revealed details of how the investigation into the murder was progressing when he met PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott.
Mr Baggott said there was nowhere his officers will not go to bring people to justice.
No witnesses have yet come forward.
The four main suspects have been living just north of the Border and three of them have spent some time in the United States since the murder.
Two are due to return home from the States when their 90-day visitor visas run out.
They are from a family linked with fuel smuggling and are suspected of being involved in a number of robberies in the border area before Det Garda Donohoe’s murder. Garda detectives travelled to Boston in December and made contact with the two, but did not interview them. The man suspected of killing Det Garda Donohoe also went to the United States shortly after the murder but came home last summer when his visa had expired.