By Sean Lehane
A massive manhunt continues in Ireland this week after a Garda detective was ruthlessly gunned down outside Dundalk, County Louth during a robbery of money being moved from a credit union to a bank.
Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot in the head as he and a colleague approached the robbery gang. The detectives had been escorting the money shipment. The shooting took place after dark. Detective Donohoe was armed but reportedly had not drawn his weapon when he was shot.
The shooting took place during a robbery of Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Jenkinstown. The thieves got away with just €4,000 and left €40,00 at the scene.
The money was part of a cash collection from four credit unions in the area which Donohoe and his colleague were escorting to be deposited in a bank in Dundalk.
Gardaí say that at least four men were involved in the robbery. The gang members were armed with a shotgun, handgun and hammer; they had their faces covered and were wearing tracksuits. A car found burned out in South Armagh across the border is thought to have been the getaway car.
Detective Garda Donohoe's widow Caroline and two brothers also serve in the force. He leaves behind a son and daughter. Local Gardaí have returned early from leave to help catch the killers.
Detectives are working on the theory that the robbery was carried out by criminals and not dissident republicans.
The gang blocked the exit of the credit union car park and shot Garda Donohoe, 41, in the head when he got out of his car. Detective Garda Joe Ryan was held at gunpoint while the robbery took place.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said there were up to four people involved in the raid.
"How many were involved beyond that will remain to be seen," he said. "We will put all our energy into finding out precisely who was behind this robbery.
"It is too early to speculate whether there was a subversive element to this or whether they are ordinary criminals."
TD for County Louth, Gerry Adams, condemned the killing.
"I am shocked at this crime. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and colleagues and appeal to those with information about this crime to co-operate with the gardaí."
The funeral of Detective Garda Donohoe will take place in Dundalk on Wednesday.
The parish priest of Lordship and Ballymascanlon said the community is still in shock with what happened.