DETECTIVE Garda Adrian Donohoe, murdered in the line of duty, was described as "a hero who died serving his country" at a special anniversary Mass for deceased members of the force.
More than 200 relatives and friends of former gardai attended a special service in the Holy Family Church, Aughrim Street, Dublin, yesterday, where they remembered those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the State.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the Mass was a chance to remember "our fallen colleagues".
"It's a very proud tradition that we have. It's something that members, particularly past members, look forward to. We also look forward to honouring the memories of people who have died in the past year," he told the Irish Independent.
Det Gda Donohoe (41) was shot in an ambush by raiders while escorting cash being collected from the Lordship credit union, outside Dundalk, in January. Nobody has yet been charged with his murder.
A sombre note was struck as the garda band played a reverie while the tricolour was lowered during the Mass. Celebrant Fr Paddy Madden told a hushed congregation that the tragic death of Det Gda Donohoe and other colleagues had left a gap in the lives of loved ones.
"Adrian was a man who had lived locally, served locally, and who enjoyed life. He died in frontline duty serving his people and his country," he said.
"Every tragedy has a human face. We think of young children who cannot greet their parents returning home from work. These are children who won't be able to share their stories about their day.
"They are children who will miss out on events where they may not have a mother or father present to congratulate them and cherish their achievements."
Det Gda Donohoe's wife, Caroline, was not in attendance, however, Adrian's brother, Colm, did attend. He did not wish to comment following the service.
Also in attendance was Justice Minister Justice Alan Shatter and Chief Superintendent of the PSNI Alan Todd.