Heartless vandals destroy garda memorial

Gardai in Buncrana, Co Donegal have denounced the desecration of a family roadside memorial to brave Garda Gary McLoughlin as “sick and depraved”.

Gardai in Buncrana, Co Donegal have denounced the desecration of a family roadside memorial to brave Garda Gary McLoughlin as “sick and depraved”.

The simple granite plaque was erected by Garda McLoughlin’s family at Lisfannon, Burt, Co Donegal, near where the patrol car he was driving was struck in December 2009. Garda McLoughlin tragically died from his injuries and Martin McDermott was sentenced to seven years for his manslaughter.

Some time between Monday and Tuesday evening, May 21 and 22, vandals struck, smashing the memorial into three pieces. Two of the pieces were left at the scene but the perverted individuals responsible then brought one of piece over 25km to the home of the brother of Garda Gary McLoughlin’s girlfriend, depositing it on a car after inscribing it with the graffiti ‘RIP’.

“This has caused huge distress for the family of Garda Gary McLoughlin, his girlfriend Shauna and her family and Garda McLoughlin’s colleagues here as well,” Superintendent Kevin English told our reporter earlier this week.

“This is a sick and depraved act which has caused untold hurt. Obviously the fact that part of the memorial was left at the home of a relation of Garda McLoughlin’s girlfriend indicates that this has be done by someone who has local knowledge of this area,” he added.

The Superintendent said that when he spoke to Garda McLoughlin’s family in his hometown of Fenagh, they had been “totally devastated” by the vandalism and the news has prompted local outrage in Donegal and Leitrim.

“This is sinister in the extreme and it has been especially hurtful for the family of Garda McLoughlin who have had to endure the tragic loss of their son, the criminal trial and the inquest as well as the fiasco of the escape of Martin McDermott.

“They attended a civic reception in the first week of May where their son was honoured and that was something very positive.

“They thought this was the turning point where they were finally starting to get some closure and this has cast them into the spotlight once again,” acknowledged Superintendent English.

Gardai know that the memorial was intact at 8.45pm on Monday, May 21. Although the damage wasn’t officially reported to gardai until Wednesday, it is understood that damage to the memorial was noted locally at around 5pm on Tuesday, May 22.

Gardai are now appealing to anyone who has any information on who might have been responsible for the destruction of this memorial to contact Buncrana Garda Station on (074) 9320540 or ring the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.