THE KILLERS of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe showed no mercy when they shot the father-of-two at close range. Senior officers say the armed robbers, who gunned him down in cold blood with a shotgun, were intent on murdering him as he approached them at the Lordship Credit Union outside Dundalk.
They then pointed the gun at his colleague and warned him they would shoot him if he moved from his car.
The gang, which carried on with the robbery as the detective lay dying, escaped with €4,000.
The gardai and the PSNI have launched a massive investigation into the murder and have pledged to do all they can to hunt down Garda Donohoe's killers.
But Justice Minister Alan Shatter, while pledging the full rigours of the law will be applied in bringing them to justice, has already ruled out new laws to assist gardai in tackling criminals such as those who killed Garda Donohoe.
And Minister Shatter and his colleagues insist there is no connection between what happened in Dundalk and the cut in garda numbers and the closure of garda stations, many in rural areas.
That may be so, but there is a perception that this government is trying so hard to cut public spending that it has lost the plot.
How you can declare that the closure of 100 garda stations will not affect policing and how can you can offer members of the gardai sabbaticals to reduce public sector salary bills without creating the impression that fighting crime is not a number one priority?
The simple answer is you can't and the criminals know it.
If you create a 'policing vacuum' those bent on crime will fill it.
A newly-published survey adds to the feeling that most people in Ireland are more concerned about serious crime than they were a year ago.
In an AA Insurance poll of just over 9,000 people conducted earlier this month, 75% of respondents said they're more worried of being burgled now that they were twelve months ago. A similar number, 76%, also expressed heightened concerns that a friend or family member could be targeted.
Many respondents expressed concerns about the reduced presence of gardaí particularly in rural areas following the closure of a number of stations and general cutbacks.
Only 7%, were in agreeance that the courts are dealing with perpetrators in an effective manner.
Among the views expressed on this topic specifically were a sense that sentences are often too lenient due to overcrowding in Irish prisons and that free legal aid should be withdrawn for repeat offenders.
The killers of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe need to be swiftly brought to justice and a clear message needs to be sent out to the criminal fraternity that this will be tough justice.