New garda armed response unit for Donegal after deployment delay to scene of Jasmine McMonagle's death

New garda armed response unit for Donegal after deployment delay to scene of Jasmine McMonagle's death
Jasmine McMonagle

A second garda armed response unit is to be set up in Co Donegal after a delay in deploying officers to a scene in which a young mother was killed.

Jasmine McMonagle, aged 27, died after she was attacked at her home in Killygordon earlier this month. The young mother-of-two was found dead at her home after she had called the emergency services more than three hours earlier.

Her partner Richard Burke, aged 28, has since been charged with her murder.

Jasmine, an aspiring actress and model, called gardaí at 4.20am on Friday, January 4 in a distressed state.

Uniformed gardai responded and arrived at the couple’s home 20 minutes later at 4.47am.

However, the uniformed gardaí came under attack, retreated and contacted members of Garda Armed Response Unit (ARU).

It has since been revealed that there was a delay in the arrival of members of the Garda Armed Response Unit (ARU) to the scene of the disturbance.

The nearest unit, which is based in Ballyshannon in south Donegal, were not on duty at the time and their back-up in Dundalk.

However, the armed garda unit in Dundalk was already dealing with a situation and could not respond.

Members of the Donegal Armed Response Unit were scrambled, but did not arrive at the scene of the stand-off until shortly before 7am.

Ms McMonagle was found dead in the house and a full post mortem was carried out on her remains.

The results of that post mortem - which may give some timeframe as to when she died - have not yet been disclosed.

Speaking at the Joint Policing Committee meeting, Letterkenny-based Garda Superintendent Finan confirmed that gardaí were in the process of setting up a second Armed Response Unit for the region.

It follows question by JPC member Joe Boland who said the public had concerns over the response times of the Armed Response Unit in the case of Ms McMonagle.

Supt Finan acknowledged the concerns and confirmed applicants were being sought for a second armed response unit in the region.

Chairman of the Joint Policing Committee, Cllr Gerry McMonagle, said because Donegal was such a big county and straddled the border, a second such unit was vital.

“Without putting this family through any further pain, it is clear from this situation that there was a delay and that a second such unit is required.

We simply cannot have one such unit based in the southern part of the county in Ballyshannon when something could happen in Inishowen which is technically almost two hours away.

"This is welcome news and I commend the Gardaí for acting swiftly on its and I urge them to get these officers the specialist training they need and to put this second unit in place as quickly as possible," he said.

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