“He was such a good man. I know if it had been me shot that day, Adrian would have gone to the ends of the earth to find my killer, so I owed it to him to get justice.”
Those are the words of retired garda detective inspector Pat Marry, who was the senior investigating officer on the Garda Adrian Donohoe murder case.
Killer Aaron Brady was given a life sentence and will serve 40 years at least.
Speaking today, Adrian's brother Alan Donohoe read out an emotional statement on behalf of the late detective's parents Hugh and Peggy.
They said Adrian was the eldest of six and always looked out for the rest of the family.
He was, they said, "as good a son as anyone could have asked for. We miss him so much every day.
"The regular phone call and chats telling us about the kids and everything going on in his life."
They added: "It’s hard to accept that such a good man could come across such evil on that cold, wet night."
He loved being a garda and was proud when he graduated at Templemore where he met his wife Caroline, who is also a garda.
Hugh and Peggy said they will never forget the gardaí coming to their door to deliver the news that no parent should ever receive.
"It was such a waste of a good man by that evil, pointless act," they said.
Adrian's sister Mary Donohoe read a statement on behalf of all five surviving siblings, Alan, Colm, Martin, Anne and Mary. They described their big brother as "larger than life, large in stature but more so, large in personality."
"He looked after all his siblings and was idolized by them.
"The void he has left in our family is immeasurable. Every family celebration is tinged with sadness and his absence is still so obvious and upsetting."
Also speaking this afternoon, retired private investigator and author Pat Marry told thethat he immediately thought of the Donohoe family once the sentencing of Aaron Brady was handed down.
He said: “We cannot bring Adrian back, but when justice is served, at least it brings, hopefully, some semblance of comfort to the family. I hope they have some solace in the sentence. Justice means a lot to people.
“Every life taken is as important as the next, but I knew Adrian and I liked and respected him so much, it was impossible not to feel emotionally attached to the case.
"We will always pursue justice for every family where and when we can, but this had a personal element to it, Mr Parry said.
“I remember how struck I was seeing hundreds of people lining the streets for his funeral.
"I was lucky to have such a dedicated, honest and dogged team who were prepared to go anywhere in the world to crack this case.”
Mr Marry said the unique bond between the gardaí and the Irish public was crucial to the case.
“It is unlike anywhere else in the world, I believe. We should never take that trust lightly and I don’t believe most gardaí do.
"There are some wonderful gardaí who kept this investigation going, and they will not stop until others face justice.”
Mr Marry warned others involved in the murder that they will be pursued.
"You will be pursued in the name of justice, and there are some excellent detectives leading the charge, such as Det Insp Martin Beggy.
“Dogged, honest police work, coupled with assistance from the public is always key to solving complex cases. It does pay off.”
In a statement, gardaí said Detective Garda Donohoe went to work on January 25, 2013, protecting the people of Louth.
“He never came home to his family after being shot and murdered during the course of a robbery at the community credit union in Lordship.
“The sentencing has been another traumatic step in the investigation of this crime for Adrian Donohoe’s wife Caroline, children, extended family, friends and his work colleagues at Dundalk garda station and in the wider garda organisation.”
Aaron Brady was just one member of a criminal gang on that day, the statement said.
“This criminal investigation remains live as the other members of that gang remain to be brought before the courts; the commitment and tenacity of the investigation team based at Dundalk garda Station to bring all suspects to justice remains steadfast.”
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said his thoughts and those of the gardaí are once again today with Adrian Donohoe’s family.
“We, in An Garda Síochána, will continue to support the family, and the friends and colleagues of Adrian.
"An Garda Siochana's resolve to bring all the participants in this crime to justice remains firm and the investigation team at Dundalk will continue to be supported by the resources of the wider organisation.”
Gardaí appealed to anyone with any information on the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe to come forward to detectives.
The investigation team can be contacted at Dundalk Garda Station 042-9388400 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111, they said.