THE WIFE of hero Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe has paid tribute to her husband as "the best. . . the whole world".
Speaking publicly for the first time since her husband's murder, the mother-of-two accepted an award on his behalf at last night's People of the Year Awards.
Before she accepted the award, a short film was played in which the hero garda's wife, family and friends paid moving tributes as well as describing the huge loss they have suffered.
"Adrian was the best father any child could ever have," Caroline Donohoe said.
"There was nobody like Adrian and Adrian was the love of my life and I will miss him every minute of every day as long as I live," she added.
Det Gda Adrian Donohoe (41) was shot in an ambush by raiders as he was escorting cash being collected from the Lordship credit union, outside Dundalk, in January.
Nobody has yet been charged with his murder but inquiries are continuing.
Speaking about his state funeral, which saw thousands of gardai line the streets of Dundalk, Caroline recalled how her friends and garda colleagues kept her going.
"Coming out of the church and walking behind Adrian, I walked behind my best friend.
"And I was surrounded by my friends and that's what kept me going," she said.
The grieving widow, who is also a garda, explained how she met Adrian almost 20 years ago when they joined the force.
"I met Adrian in 1994 when I went to join the guards and we both went to Templemore that day. From the first day we met, we clicked.
"And after a few years we got married in Kilkee and we have two beautiful children, Amy and Niall.
"There's nothing Adrian wouldn't have done for us. Sure, he was just the best, the whole world."
Since her husband's shocking murder – the first murder of a garda since the shooting dead of Detective Jerry McCabe in Adare in 1996 – Caroline has been inundated with cards and letters from well-wishers around Ireland and the world.
"I have got thousands and thousands of cards and letters.
"And I have got letters on days that I really needed them the most from people, and they were just beautiful.
"The people of Lordship and Dundalk, and my garda colleagues, have been phenomenal. There's nothing that they wouldn't do for us."
She thanked the people of Lordship and Dundalk, as well as St Patrick's GAA Club, for their help and support with Adrian's funeral.
Adrian's brother Colm described his older brother as a "big man with the big heart".
"He had so much to give in life, he had so much more to offer. He was so generous. He was good-natured. So happy."
Legendary GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh presented the award on Saturday night to Caroline Donohoe at the Rehab People of the Year Awards in Citywest, which were hosted by Grainne Seoige.
"Adrian Donohoe was a family man," he said. "Much loved by Caroline, and Niall and Amy, his parents, his brothers and sisters.
"Let the loss of this brave officer remind us, lest we forget, that there are people there who look out for us without being asked," he added.