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Adrian's case should never have been downscaled, says senior retired detective

A detective sergeant who was heavily involved in the Adrian Donohoe murder investigation has spoken of his "deep concern" that the probe has been downscaled and not enough resources have been put into it.

Retired detective Ian McLaughlin, who worked for the force's National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), outlined his concerns on the second anniversary of the savage gun murder of the hero garda near his Co Louth home.

Mr McLaughlin spoke to the Herald as Detective Donohoe's family and friends held a special vigil for him last night, which started at the Lordship Credit Union where the garda was shot dead two years ago.

There have been no arrests in the case so far despite the fact that the five-man gang who were responsible were identified within days.

This is something that "deeply worries" retired Det Sgt McLaughlin, who spent over 14 months working on the case until his retirement last March.


When the respected officer was drafted into the case, more than 30 of his colleagues from the NBCI, as well as dozens of other detectives from other specialist agencies, were brought in to help with the investigation at Dundalk Garda Station.

However, he now points out that just two NBCI officers have been left assisting the detailed investigation led by Dundalk-based officers.

"This investigation got the proper resources for the first three or four months but it was then dramatically downscaled. Austerity measures within An Garda Siochana meant that the manpower levels were taken down too quickly," Mr McLaughlin, who had 33 years of service, pointed out.

"I think it is a terrible shame that we have not had a constant upkeep of resources in this case because at the very least it would let those cold-blooded criminals know that the gardai have not gone away and will continue their investigation.

"My big fear is that, as time passes, the authorities will forget about this dreadful murder. It should be worked on constantly until we reach a successful conclusion and the message has to be sent out that killing a garda will not go unpunished," he explained.

Mr McLaughlin, who was involved in investigating dozens of the country's most notorious crimes, now works as the garda adviser on TV3's Red Rock.

The Donohoe case was the last murder investigation that he worked on before he retired and he spoke about the culture of fear that exists in the north Louth and south Armagh areas which is where the gang that carried out the brutal slaying is from.

"While the vast majority of the people living and working around the area are very decent law-abiding people, and have genuine sympathy for Adrian and his family, they are bullied by real fear from the historically violent criminal and dissident thugs in their midst," he said.


"It is important that the Government and the garda authorities don't forget Adrian, his wife, family, Adrian's colleagues in Louth, or the gardai in general.

"Don't leave them concluding that because of the passing of time, austerity or any other excuse, that Adrian's, or any other garda's life can be taken and then forgotten," he added.

Despite the major difficulties encountered over the course of the two-year probe, Mr McLaughlin still believes that the crime can be solved.

"I believe that this can be solved as An Garda Siochana is a very professional police force and with the right resources and personnel allocation is more than capable of bringing these murderers to justice," he said.

Mr McLaughlin added: "It should be noted that Adrian's friends and colleagues from Dundalk and Louth are doing whatever they can for Adrian despite the huge problems. They are working night and day to do whatever they can."