Garda Death

The killing of Garda Adrian Donoghue in Louth, described by the Taoiseach as 'cold blooded murder’, hardly qualifies as anything other than an act of wanton brutality that has sent a deluge of anger coursing through Irish society.

Detective Garda Donoghue was gunned down as he moved to intervene in a robbery. Not yet having drawn his own weapon he seems to have stood little chance. His colleagues are said to be trying to establish ‘if subversives, dissidents, or members of a criminal gang were responsible for the raid.’  He is the first Garda to be gunned down on duty in seventeen years although other members of the force have died in violent incidents, on occasion losing their lives while trying to stop fleeing vehicles.

Anne McCabe, the wife of Garda Jerry McCabe killed by the IRA in 1996, sent her condolences to the family of the dead man. She commented that 'it is 17 years later on and history is repeating itself. We all thought those dark days were left behind.' As decent and humane as this sentiment is the harsh facts remain. Dark days are an omnipresent in police life. It is the nature of the profession. The darkness might not always snuff out the light of life but it will forever be there.  Did such days not exist there would arguably be little need for policing.

Gardai, like police officials elsewhere, will continue to be killed in the line of duty. In some senses An Garda Siochana is fortunate to have gone so long without this type of fatality. They are no safer from the callous indifference of those who kill them than police in Manchester where two young female officers lost their lives in a violent attack last year. They are placed at the dark coal front and occasionally take the ultimate hit doing their job. 

The gratuitous wilfulness of last night’s killing where no quarter was given can only fuel outrage and amplify calls for the judiciary to be more punitive, with a concomitant deleterious effect on civil liberties: less rights for the public and more powers for the police, a precarious asymmetry for any society to straddle.

Most armed robbers seem to have the sense to scarper before seriously harming anybody. But if they go out with arms whatever their intent or accompany those that do, they can never rule out the possibility that those arms might be used with fatal consequences. And if a gun is fired at a Garda's head the intent is not to scare or injure.

There is nowhere in Ireland today where it is okay to gun down members of the police, neither here in the South or in the North where killing cops was long endorsed during the years of political turmoil by one of the main political parties in the Stormont Executive: a situation which served to weaken the moral opprobrium towards killing police, even those doing the most necessary and politically neutral societal tasks.  That opprobrium has long existed and has never abated in the South where there remains a widespread identification with the Gardai that I never witnessed with police in the North. When a member of the RUC was killed I never had the experience that ‘one of ours had been killed.’ This hostility seems to have diluted in recent years but back then the force was something alien. Down here things are very different. When a Garda is killed he is very much regarded as our own.  In the North safe refuge was often available for those who killed police. In the South there is no hiding place, no ambigutiy. Try describing a Garda as a ‘legitimate target’ and the response will be as if you just called a black person a ‘lazy smelly nigger.’

The type of killing carried out last night is bereft of all justification. It comes without the mitigation that could often be proffered up North during its conflict years. For all their shortcomings the police are democratically constituted by society. It is virtually impossible to conceptualise a reasonably safe society without police. A police force, despite its coercive function and arguably because of it, is as indispensable to any society as the medical profession. It makes no more sense to shoot police officers in a democratic society than it would to shoot doctors.

Any police force in a democratic society may be troublesome, even abusive, if we fall foul of it. We may disagree with the police, often oppose their methods, and protest against them, feeling their power is draconian and their accountability deficient. They may even be legitimately regarded as political opponents because they stand on the opposite side of the barricade from the radicals. But the notion that killing police is some sort of solution that adds anything to society is a heinous fiction. 

The type of police force we should face as citizens is one where they instil in us the same level of apprehension as would the tax man, something maybe to be avoided in the interests of privacy but never to be killed.


  1. The Louth TD Gerry Itwasntme was on the news earlier calling on people with information no matter how small to pass it on to the psni...some times I wonder were we all in some sort of trance during those dark years...

  2. At the end of the day, rightly or wrongly it's part of the risk of the job.

    Much in the same way all IRA volunteers are told chances are you'll be shot dead or jailed for yrs.

  3. Marty:

    It's unbelievable to say the least, maybe Gerry is in the Illumanati, and mass hypnotised us all.

    Don't know if you have read this;

    Spies within

  4. Itsjustmackers thanks a cara its been a long time since I read that article, Ingram always put forward very believable stuff and certainly hard to argue with..

  5. itsjustmacker

    That's a great article. I watched a thing about Whitey Bulger in Boston and his FBI connection. There's certainly more than a whif of the same antics going on in the SF leadership and those two top dogs in particular. In fact, never mind a whif, the stink is unbearable.

  6. I'm always a bit guarded when reading Ingrams stuff to be honest. I think he regurgitated a lot of stuff that was already very much in the public domain.

    Having said that, I don't disbelieve him, just mindful of what he was, maybe even still is, when I see anything he writes. For all we know he could be still part of the establishment, trying to influence.

  7. We need some damn gun control in Ireland! What is it with the out of control gun culture in the Emerald Isle?

  8. Ryan; 'We need some damn gun control in Ireland! What is it with the out of control gun culture in the Emerald Isle?'

    A tad early for sarcasm perhaps?

  9. ryan,

    you are absolutely right. It is needed everywhere. The answer to gun nuts is not more guns

  10. As the days have progressed since the murder of Garda Donoghue there would appear to be more to this than that of a robbery initially thought to have gone wrong – it would seem that the objective of the robbery was not to rob but to lure and kill and so the question is why?
    Recall, this was apparently deliberate, it wasn’t, as in the case of Garda McCabe a wounding shot that lead to a fatality (is it possible to fire a shotgun to inflict a wound to the head with the intention of incapacitating the victim – temporarily that is!) so therefore can we deduct that there is an ulterior motive for the murder and if it is directly aimed at O’Donoghue then why or if it is a chilling message to Garda stationed around there then also why? Was this Garda overzealous in his duty and ‘interfering’ too much in the nefarious activities of the indigenous peoples of the border region? I think a bit of investigative journalism in to Garda O’Donoghue and his colleagues may turn up the answer that the press have yet to print….
    Why go to the bother of murdering a Garda and only take the smallest cache of money available...a token gesture perhaps? It certainly wasn't done in panic, now was it?
    Surely the retribution that will come will be worse than a plague of locusts – nefarious activities may have to be postponed for the foreseeable future I believe!!!!

  11. Ryan

    'We need some damn gun control in Ireland! What is it with the out of control gun culture in the Emerald Isle?'

    Cracker!! our problem was always we never had enough guns and then when we did our 'leaders' gave em away for wee jobs and big houses seemingly.

  12. Adams used yesterday,s funeral to issue an apology for the killing of members of free state forces, the cunning bastard knew that to criticise that would attract the comment that one was a supporter of whoever killed this garda, the west Belfast deserter has made a fortune out of illegality and some of that included murder his comments and timing are as grossly offensive to those who support the state and those who believe the state has usurped them,no apology from the state has ever been forthcoming for Ballyseedy,the heavy gang or lack of justice for the relatives of the Dublin or Monaghan bombings,Adams has become a crawling lackey like De Rossa and co before him, his comments make me puke, I condemn that gardas murder for the complete waste that it is and unlike Adams not for some opportunistic media byte that may ingratiate himself with his new found cronies in the Dail.

  13. Marty,

    this is the point. If his apology was not for reasons of sheer opportunism he would stop lying that he was not on the army council at the time Gerry McCabe was killed. But of course, it was somebody else's army that did it. He was a prince of peace.

    He apologised not because he gives one toss about Gerry McCabe or his family but because he considers it politically disadvantageous not to apologise.

    Then he will go around bad mouthing Gerry McCabe to the grunts - 'conned the Dail, lads, what do you think of that?'

    And Jimmy Savile was accused of having groomed a nation.

  14. Perfect Anthony "grooming a nation"and fooling no one

  15. I think this apology is to pave the way for the 'big apology'

    And after that, next stop Westminster.

  16. For years I wondered was there no one else in the West Belfast area that could represent the good people of the Falls and Andersontown , but sadly not and then what happened, Co Louth inherited him, he came into the Wee County all guns blazing (pardon the pun) and continued to give the people his well rehearsed Ballymurphy tripe, he shafted one of the best representatives the Cooley peninsula has ever had in the Dail , Arthur Morgan Sinn Fein.
    The great peace maker has vomited out his gibberage to all that would listen about how great he is.
    But how a week can change and show the real person that struts his stuff in Cooley.
    Dolours Price was found dead, she was formerly a great friend of Gerry’s and the great one declares he wont be attending her funeral ????
    Garda Adrian Donahue is slaughtered by thugs who believe its their right to rob the community of their hard earned money.
    Both these incidents caused great pain for a lot of people for different reasons , the first hurdle Gerry crossed easily because he had convinced all his lambs that Dolours was a liar end of
    But in the second which happened to one of his own constitutes, has caused him a lot of trouble and will for a long time
    Because Adrian was not only a Garda , he was a member of the GAA in the area which brings out an even greater feeling of revulsion.
    Gerry had to move quickly and the best he could muster was to apologise for the murder of Garda McCabe. When he stood up in the Dail to announce that he was apologising on behalf of republicans for the murder of Gerry McCabe he was only thinking of himself and most certainly not Anne McCabe, why he thought Anne would now want to hear such insincerity at this most inappropriate time when he has spent the past 17 years telling downright lies beggars belief.
    Former PRO Sinn Fein attends Dolours Price funeral , why would he attend after the bad things she said about Gerry who Danny once said he completely believed ??????

  17. Boyne Rover; what was the story with Arthur Morgan? Was he sidelined?

    To be honest, I can see why Adams didn't attend Dolours funeral. One, he wasn't wanted and is cute enough to know he'd have been told to GTF had he weighed in, but secondly - and regardless of how close he and Dolours once were, she called him out and he most likely despised her for this
    As well as the fact she showed him up by remaining true to herself and republicans and even he'd have a brass neck to show up.

    Re; the PRO showing up - he got a new hat and wanted to show it off.

  18. Belfast Bookworm
    Arthur had the safest Sinn Fein seat in the 26 counties, to appease the Leaders appetite for power at any cost Arthur was pushed aside and Gerry stepped safely in, The Sinn Fein Leader has forgotten that he got elected on the back of a failed Fianna Fail government and not because he was just Gerry Adams
    Danny forty hats

  19. Boyne Rover; cheers. Didn't know what happened there.

    But you got that last bit wrong - he's only three hats, but forty faces.

  20. Belfast Bookworm
    I think I have uncovered the perfect description for Danny how about the Rubik Cube

  21. Boyle Rover; the Rubik Cube. I have heard about that phenomena - but being too young to remember it myself I will take your word that its an apt description!

  22. Anyone see pictures of the Garda's funeral-a black rubber band was wrapped over the coffin and national flag when a few drawing pins instead would have shown a lot more respect-

  23. Michaelhenry
    I always believed you were from some part of this island and you supported Sinn Fein, but after making a such a statement just made makes think you are from some other part of the world or else you live here but never go outside your house, or maybe you seething because Gerry Adams apologised to the people of the Republic of Ireland for the slaughter of members of their police force when it really should have come from a member of the Provisional IRA
    PS check the weather forecast for last Wednesday in Co Louth

  24. Boyne Rover,

    it was the type of foot in the mouth comment that Michaelhenry is prone to make. Gerry told him it was sunny last Wednesday and he believed it.

    On your point that a member of the PIRA should have made that apology I would argue that the most important commander in the history of PIRA made the statement in the Dail last week. How many gardai were killed while he was on the army council? Here are five for starters:

    Henry Byrne
    Frank Hand
    John Morley
    Garry Sheehan
    Jerry McCabe

    That is why his apology does not amount to a hill of beans. It is deceitful, the intent was to conceal rather than reveal. Apologising while abdicating responsibility is a luxury for him and an insult to the families of the dead he is trying to con.

    There is no end to what this person has inflicted on people the length and breadth of this country. He really needs to move off screen and allow decency to breathe.

  25. Boyne Rover-

    I Know it was windy during the funeral thats why i said drawing pins should have been used- juat to throw a big black rubber band over the flag shows no respect for their dead colleague- its just an opionion of mine-

    " it really should have come from a member of the Provisional IRA "

    I dont see how-the Provos are at peace with the world-they are no more-they no longer exist-read a paper once in a while and find out whats going on-

  26. Exactly Anthony and the question that I think should be asked of the whistling Brownie,is on whose behalf exactly was he issuing that apology on,did for example the now defunct AC reconvene and if so under what authority and who elected them? or did he offer it as president of Q$£ who to my certain knowledge never killed anyone therefore making his apology irrelevant,do you catch my drift a cara?.

  27. Any Thespian would have been proud of that "superficial apology". It was presented and delivered at on the best publicity circuit in the free state. ie the Dail. The sole purpose of it was not to express remorse,regret or solidarity with the Garda family. It was purely political, to edge closer to the fainna fail in the terms of so-called respectability in the south. It also illuminates the Narcissistic personality disorder of the man in which it is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity of himself. Again, there will be no bounds to a person with this disorder.

  28. I really need to start proof reading these posts. Sorry for the last sentence. lol. the ole red wine on the go.

  29. How pathetic is correct.

    A quick apology for the killing of Garda McCabe then here I am at the funeral of Garda Donoghue. I the bringer of peace to Ireland. The cameras see me; a funereal leader among leaders, I share their disgust, the cameras must record that and show it later.

    I also share their hypocrisy but they won't allow me to share it with them. I must stand outside their circles and be pointed at. Ridiculed.

    Bastards! I brought peace, the cameras know that.

    The cameras also record that I am not attending the funeral of the Republican Dolours Price; a dastardly dissident. My place is now here among the leaders, for I am a leader too.

    I lead the peace process, it is my peace process. I lead the way in campaigning for the removal of the border.

    I also led a generation of young Republicans to early graves or long years in prison for a 32 County Socialist Republic and not a border poll.
    I know most of the graveyards in Ireland, the cameras recorded my presence in them - at the graves.

    This is where I am today, in a graveyard; the cameras are here too. And so are the other leaders.

    "Unscrupulous politicians and so called 'Peacemakers' "

    Was it really I who said that?

  30. Michael, what part of they are poking fun a Gerry Adams can't you understand? How can Gerry Adams (as you pointed out and several others long before you) claim to speak for an Army that he wasn't involved in or no longer exists? I can't speak for former (or present) members of the PRM simply because I wasn't a member (neither was Gerry)

    You should learn to proof read and think about what you say before hitting 'publish'. Maybe (give you the benefit of doubt), in your head your ideas and arguments make sense but on 'paper' they don't..

  31. Michaelhenry
    Information you might need , sorry but windy it might have seemed but actually it was blowing an absolute Hooley, rain and wind lashing down for most of the service. Drawing pins would have been as useful as an ash tray on a motor bike, the black rubber might have looked unsightly but what would the criticism have been if the flag had blown off and flew down the Castletown River.
    Cheers and thanks for letting us all know that the Provo’s are no longer with us, who told you, was it Gerry and the Peacemakers

  32. "Cracker!! our problem was always we never had enough guns and then when we did our 'leaders' gave em away for wee jobs and big houses seemingly."
    I'm just hoping for your sake that our pal Piers Morgan isn't heading over to Ireland to take up his anti gun crusade. It is all he ever talks about. Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away!

  33. James,

    I think there is much in what you say about that narcissistic personality disorder.

  34. James; I'd agree with you. Some of the symptoms of this disorder are (as well as arrogance, need to dominate and seize power);

    Reacting badly to criticism. Tick.
    Lacking empathy. Tick.
    Exaggerating own achievements. Tick.
    Fantasising about things that never happened at all. Tick

    I knew to evening psych class I took would pay off some day.

  35. I disagree with James prognosis re the bearded one I dont think he is narcissistic. more necrophiliac!