Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and Justice Minister Dermot Ahern today led tributes to the young garda who died today after being injured in a head-on car crash.
Gary McLoughlin, 24, from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, was injured in a collision in Co Donegal at 1.30am yesterday morning.
The crash happened at Lisfannon on the Letterkenny to Bridgend road after gardaí were alerted to a car driving off from a filling station at high speed.
Gda McLaughlin died overnight in Letterkenny General Hospital.
His colleague, Garda Bernard McLoughlin, from Gurteen, Co Sligo, was also injured in the incident and was said to be in a stable condition today.
The driver of the other car involved in the crash was also in a stable condition at the hospital.
The two officers had been called out in their marked patrol car to support colleagues who were in an unmarked car in pursuit of a Northern-registered Opel Astra.
The car had been seen leaving a filling station before heading in the direction of the border.
It is understood the accident happened when the Northern-=registered car turned on the road and collided with the marked garda car.
The Garda Ombudsman is investigating.
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy paid tribute to the young garda, saying he died serving the community.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death early this morning of a young colleague, Garda Gary McLoughlin,” the Commissioner said.
“At this time my thoughts and prayers – and those of the entire force – are with the family, colleagues and friends of Garda McLoughlin.
“I trust that the other people injured in the collision including Garda McLoughlin’s colleague will make a full recovery,"
Commissioner Murphy said Gda McLoughlin's death highlighted "in stark terms the dangers gardaí can face each day as they go about their work of policing and rendering assistance to the community."
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern expressed deep regret over the young officer's death.
“On my own behalf, and that of the Government and the Irish people, I express heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Garda McLoughlin,” the minister said.
“His tragic and untimely death serves as another desperately sad reminder of the dangers which members of An Garda Síochána. face, day in day out, in endeavouring to keep us all safe.
“While nothing can be expected to console those who have been bereaved by this death, I hope they can draw whatever comfort they can from the fact that Gary lost his life while protecting the community which he served as part of the highest traditions of An Garda Síochána.
“Our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery are also with his colleague who was injured.”
Gda McLoughlin is the second officer to die this year after being injured on duty.
Gda Robbie McCallion, from Swinford, Co Mayo, died in April almost two weeks after being crushed against a wall by a car in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
Two youths have been charged in connection with the incident.