Irish detective shot dead 'without warning' in Louth robbery

Det Garda Adrian Donohoe
Image caption Det Garda Adrian Donohoe is the first member of the force to be shot dead on duty since 1996.

Irish police have said a detective shot dead in an attempted robbery near Dundalk in County Louth was killed without warning.

Det Garda Adrian Donohoe, was shot at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan at about 21:30 GMT on Friday.

Irish police said he did not produce his weapon before he was shot.

The 41-year-old was one of two detectives on escort duty when an attempted robbery took place.

His colleague, Det Joe Ryan, has been severely traumatised but is otherwise unhurt.

Police are looking for four men in a dark-coloured Volkswagen Passat.

The area has been sealed off while police attempt to establish the circumstances surrounding the shooting and the Police Service of Northern Ireland has been informed.

Det Garda Donohue, who was married with two children, is the first member of the force to be shot dead on duty since the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe in 1996.

Det McCabe was also shot dead on escort duty outside a post office in Adare, County Limerick.

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Media captionBBC Newsline's Catherine Morrison reports.

'Very popular'

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said everyone in the police force was "deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of our colleague".

"My thoughts, and the thoughts of everyone in An Garda Siochana, and I'm sure the wider community are with the Donohue family," he said.

"We will be doing everything in our power to catch the perpetrators of this terrible murder."

The garda commissioner added that his wife Caroline and two of his brothers were also police officers and that Det Donohue was a "very popular, effective and efficient" member of the force.

Irish President Michael D Higgins said all Irish people "will be truly appalled" by this "dreadful crime".

Ireland's Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said people had respect for those working in the Irish police force.

"They will share my revulsion and horror that a garda (Irish police officer) has so tragically lost his life in the course of his duties."

Stormont Justice Minister David Ford said he and Mr Shatter had reinforced their commitment to work together against criminal gangs.

Image caption Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was 'deeply shocked' by the murder

"I condemn this brutal murder of Garda Donohoe and offer my deepest sympathies to his family and fellow Garda officers," he said.

"Anyone with information should pass it to the appropriate authorities so these dangerous people can be brought before the courts."

The Garda Representative Association President John Parker said it was in "deep shock" following the killing.

"This dreadful news is what every police family fears," he said.

"At this time the wider garda family will be doing everything possible to support the late garda's relatives and loved ones, friends and colleagues."