The brutal act of violence in Lordship Co. Louth on Friday night was a bleak moment for the entire country. In homes all across the country ordinary people were deeply shocked by the news of the cold blooded slaying of Garda Detective Adrian Donohoe as he stood in the line of service of his country. The state has suffered a direct attack, An Garda Siochana has endured the loss of a dear colleague but more importantly the family of Adrian Donohoe have lost a husband, a father, a brother and a son. We can never forget the human cost of this savage act of violence.

The central role of An Garda Siochana runs deep in the family of Adrian Donohoe. I can only begin to imagine the pain of the loss his parents, brothers and sisters have so cruelly suffered. I offer my most sincere condolences to his wife Caroline who shared with Adrian not just a loving relationship but also the commitment to public service in the face of ever present danger that underpins An Garda Siochana.

There is something truly harrowing about young children being robbed of their father at such a fragile age, even more saddening in the violent circumstances through which he was taken. It is a loss that will strike at the heart of all families across the country. The least we can offer to his son Niall and daughter Amy is our deep sorrow and our full, unwavering support.

The deep irreplaceable loss that his family has suffered is felt by his colleagues in the force, not just in his station in Dundalk but across the entire country. Those that wear the uniform of An Garda Siochana are bound together by the ethos of service that defines it. They stand guard against those who would plunge us into chaos. In the darkness of Friday night that entire force felt the loss of a brave member who gave his life in that duty.

It is a testament to the resilience and determination of the members in the face of such tragedy that they have rallied around their fallen colleague and striven to bring the perpetrators to justice. Officers cancelling leave, coming in on days off and Gardaí across the country offering their help to pursue the case stands as a reminder that the force will never be cowed by thugs. Detective Garda Joe Ryan’s return to help the investigation in the aftermath of witnessing the callous murder of his colleague is a tribute to Detective Donohoe’s popularity and the strength of fraternity in the force itself. I offer Commissioner Callinan and the members of the force our condolences.

In his home area of Lordship, the town of Dundalk and his family home of Kilnaleck, Co Cavan the local communities are reeling from the shock of such a brutal loss. Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe embodied the best traditions of community engagement. For him public service was not simply a job but a way of life. His contribution to local life outside of his work with An Garda Siochana will be sorely missed by those whose lives he enriched. The people who knew him, who played football with him who were coached by him face an immense void in the heart of their communities.

17 years ago the country was appalled by the barbaric murder of Jerry McCabe by the IRA in Adare Co. Limerick. He died in the line of duty protecting us from the armed thugs whose agenda is greed, murder and chaos. Adrian Donohoe died defending us against that same dark agenda, protecting a community bank where ordinary people put away their hard and fairly earned money and help support other members.

Those who committed the crime attacked the very principles of law and order upon which the state is founded. The security and stability of society is upheld by the men and women of An Garda Siochana who are pledged to defend it against those who mean us harm. An attack on them is an attack on the Irish people, an attack on all of us. We must stand behind those who stand up for us against the scourge of violent criminality.

Adrian Donohoe will now join Jerry McCabe on the walls of the Cenotaph Memorial in Garda HQ alongside those members of the force who paid the ultimate price. Let us all work to ensure that the families they left behind are cared for, that those with blood on their hands are brought to face the full rigors of justice and that the state they died defending justifies their sacrifice.