AS the Gardaí issued a fresh appeal for information, the focus of investigations in the Det Garda Donohoe murder continues to be firmly focused on the activities of a known criminal gang operating in the Crossmaglen/Keady /North Louth area.
The gang are the centre of the investigation are thought to been behind a number of armed robberies across the South Armagh/North Louth area, and it is thought that they have been acting with impunity in the area for sometime.
It has also been revealed over the weekend that the PSNI have formally warned one of the prime suspects in the case, as they have learned of a credible threat to his life by dissidents in the area.
Under the Osman ruling, if intelligence has been received to suggest that a member of the public’s life is under threat, and there isn’t enough evidence to take charges against the person/s that have made the threat, they must issue such a warning.
It is believed locally that criminal gangs in the area with links to dissidents have been greatly angered by the attention the murder has brought to the locality.
It believed that as many as 20 people will have been aware of the activities leading up to the fatal botched robbery at the Lordship Credit Union.
The members of the gang are thought to be between the ages of the late teens and late twenties.
While members of the gang reside on both side of the border, it thought that most the gang have now gone to ground while at the same time keeping up to date on social networking sites.
The gang have been described as a collection of individuals from various backgrounds, who are “out of their depth”, and authorities expect some will come forward to give evidence on the case.
Another source with a knowledge of criminality in the area told the Democrat that they understood that the organised crime gangs behind fuel laundering in the Louth/Armagh/Monaghan want to distance themselves from the gang.
Meanwhile one local councilor says that it is time to discuss policing in the region. Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat Cllr Tomas Sharkey said: “With absolute respect for the family, there has to be a discussion about the approach to policing in this area.
“There needs to be a seamless policing structure between the three counties of Louth, Armagh and Monaghan.
“What has been going on is not fair to people living in the region. The amount of innuendo about this region in the press has been uncalled for. The people of this area are good people, and a few bad apples are not represenative of the whole area.”
It has been a difficult week for the Gardaí of Dundalk, who have been offering counselling services in the wake of Det Garda Donohoe’s brutal murder.
Gardaí issued a fresh appeal on Friday, saying: “It has been one week since the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe which occurred on the Friday evening, the 25th January 2013 outside the Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Co. Louth.
“Gardai in Dundalk would like to renew their appeal for information, in particular to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the vicinity of Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Co. Louth between 7.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. on Friday 25th January 2013 or in the days preceding this, is asked to contact them.
“One line of enquiry is the discovery of a burnt out car on Sunday 27th January on the Keady to Newtownhamilton Road in County Armagh. It has been established that this car, a navy Volkswagon Passat, 08 D was stolen during the course of a burglary at Clogherhead, Co. Louth between 11.30 p.m. and 4.30 a.m. on 22nd/23rd January. On the night this car was stolen there was a large funeral in Clogherhead and this may jog some local people’s memories of the night.”
Anyone who may have noticed this car in the day or hours leading up to Friday last or who may seen this car in the Bellurgan or Keady areas or indeed who may have any information about this car is asked to contact the incident room at Dundalk Garda station on 042 9388400 or the Garda confidential number 1800 666 111, any Garda Station or the PSNI on 04890-650222 (from Republic of Ireland) or 0845-6008000 (from Northern Ireland).