A garda officer has been shot dead after responding to a domestic disturbance in Co Louth.
The gunman, who was on bail awaiting trial for dissident republican terrorism, is believed to have taken his own life after shooting the garda and a woman.
The attack took place at about 6pm at a house in the Mullach Alainn estate in Omeath, Co Louth, a Garda spokesman said.
The woman, believed to be the gunman’s partner, was said to have been seriously wounded in the shooting.
The dead garda, a married father of three in his 30s, was one of a number of officers who called to the house amid reports of a domestic disturbance after the woman had dialled 999.
The armed man, in his mid-20s, opened fire, shooting the garda and the woman, before turning the gun on himself.
“We can confirm that one of the deceased was an on duty member of An Garda Siochana,” a spokesman said.
The gunman had been on bail awaiting trial for IRA membership at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin after being arrested at the start of the year following a joint Garda-Police Service of Northern Ireland operation to target dissident republicans in the border area.
Small groups of men and women consoled one another on the streets around the Mullach Alainn estate as initial forensic examinations of the house got under way.
A security cordon was set up at the egde of the estate with local residents asked to remain in their homes as investigating officers prepared to conduct door to door inquiries.
The dead garda is the 88th member of the force to be killed in the line of duty and the murder occurred in the same region of Co Louth where Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was fatally shot on January 25 2013.
Archbishop Eamon Martin spoke by phone from Rome to local priests.
“Like me they are very upset by this tragic incident which has devastated families and rocked the peaceful parish community in beautiful Omeath,” he said.
“I ask for prayers for the recovery of the injured woman and for the families, friends and neighbours of those who have lost their lives. I encourage anyone who has information that can help the gardai with their investigation to come forward.”