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Dublin: 14°C Saturday 16 October 2021

Priest calls for 'reflection on need for further policing' at Garda funeral

In a powerful sermon, Fr Michael Cusack addressed cuts to frontline services and called on anyone with information about Detective Donohoe’s death to come forward.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“WHO NEEDS A more perfect image of evil than what has brought us here today…the callous mowing down of an innocent human being,” Fr Michael Cusack asked during the funeral mass for murdered garda Detective Adrian Donohoe in Louth this afternoon.

“We’ve seen it in so many walks of life…evil creeping in, slow acceptance, gentle movement, until there is contamination all round,” he continued in a powerful and politically-charged sermon, which called for reflection on the need for further policing across the country.

The priest said society needs to recognise what evil can do when it is “allowed to flourish in a community”.

He also cited recent assaults on two elderly men in the rural Galway parish where his parents live “with no police security”. “Is that the way we need to treat our brothers and sisters in our care?” he asked.

Raising the issues of drug gangs and paramilitary activity in border areas, Fr Cusack said policing the community can be a “thankless task” that involves “incredible prices”.

“Sometimes I think evil becomes clearly personified, almost Satanic. The idea that there can be people in our society that can destroy the lives of so many young people through the trading of drugs, the idea that sin itself can be imprisoned but still manage run drug baron circles and markets around our country. It is like Satan laughing at us.”

He also urged anyone with information about the murder of Detective Donohoe to come forward.

“We see [evil] where people, like on last Friday night, callously mow down human life. We see it where people collude with it – where they refuse to give information which will lead to peace, resolution and closure.

“I have absolutely no doubt that there are people who today know who has caused this dreadful sorry in the lives of so many,” he continued. “If there is anyone who knows anything about that, if you have any semblance of goodness in you, for God’s sake, turn these people in.

If not, you are allowing Satan to ruin the lives of more and more people.

Remembering the deceased, the priest said: “The members of the Garda Síochána here in Dundalk have clearly been robbed of a wonderful, wonderful brother. Caroline, you have lost an amazing husband and father to your children.

“There are no words that we can offer to you that can bring him back but I do believe the support you are getting from the community will bring you some level of comfort. But this should never have happened.”

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Addressing the victim’s family – his wife Caroline, seven-year-old daughter Amy and six-year-old son Niall – the celebrant told them their memories “are so deeply treasured”.

“What Adrian meant to you can never be adequately be put into words…

“The whole country is gutted by what has happened. I don’t know how to best express that grief and solidarity, apart from wanting to pray for you.”

Turning to the thousands of Gardaí inside and outside the church, Fr Cusack called the detective “a man of virtue” who “lay down his life for this community”.

“It is the only profession where we ask people to dance a dance with Satan…to come face to face with evil,” he continued. “To play games with people of evil intent, people who are prepared to entrap, people who withhold information, people who prolong suffering, people who are not capable of being called human beings because of the way they have treated their fellow brothers and sisters.”

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To conclude, Fr Cusack paid tribute to Caroline Donohoe for her strength and power in recent days.

“As we bid farewell to Adrian today, we acknowledge a wonderful man, a superb father, a devoted husband, a wonderful son and brother, a great colleague.”

There were also a few short and emotional words from Colm and Alan Donohoe, the detective’s brothers.

I told my four-and-half-year-old daughter that her uncle Adrian was gone to heaven. She said, ‘He was really big’.
And he was big in stature…big in heart…he was a big kid…his godson said he had lost the funniest man he new.
He was generous to a fault…we all aspire to reach his high standards.
He did everything to the best of his ability. To Caroline, we say thank you for making him the happiest and proudest husband and dad.

“We are devastated by the senseless and tragic loss. The he will miss occassions of his kids growing up. We take some comfort that he packed so much into his life…always with a smile on his face. Rest in peace Adrian.”

(Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Crowds gathered from noon today for the funeral mass of the 41-year-old. Among the mourners were An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Michael D Higgins and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Thousands of members of An Garda Síochána also attended the service.

Commissioner Callinan reiterated the force’s commitment to bring the victim’s killers to justice and concluded his short address with the line, “We will never, ever forget you.”

Read: €50,000 reward offered for information in garda killing

Home town, GAA club and Gardaí mourn murdered Detective Adrian Donohoe

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