‘Mindless hooligans’ out of step with Inishowen

A stone along the Main Letterkenny to Derry Rd. at the spot where Garda Gary Mc Loughlin was killed on duty. Picture By Brian McDaid
A stone along the Main Letterkenny to Derry Rd. at the spot where Garda Gary Mc Loughlin was killed on duty. Picture By Brian McDaid

There was widespread anger in Inishowen throughout the weekend when it was learned someone removed a plaque erected in memory of Garda Gary McLoughlin, vandalised it, and left a part of it outside the home of his girlfriend’s family.

Local councillor, Jack. Murray said the destruction of Gda McLoughlin’s memorial was “despicable and deeply hurtful”

Buncrana based Garda McLoughlin (24) died when he was struck by a car in Burt, on December 14th, 2009.

The plaque was erected at the scene of Garda McLoughlin’s death at Lisfannon, Burt, by his family last year saying: “For some moments in life there are no words.”

Gardaí believe vandals attacked the plaque, smashing it into pieces on Monday night or early Tuesday morning last.

One of the pieces was then taken 25km to Buncrana and left on a car bonnet belonging to the brother of Gda McLoughlin’s girlfriend with the letters “RIP” sprayed on it.

Inishowen’s Garda Supt Kevin English said he and all members of the Garda Síochána had been “sickened and disgusted” by the mindless attack.

“I have no words to adequately describe what happened – it was sick, vile and sinister in the extreme and it has caused untold hurt to the family of Gary, the community and all his colleagues,” he said.

“It is a depraved act carried out by people who have no respect for anyone, and it is a direct attack on Gary, his family and An Garda Síochána.”

Supt English said he had been in contact with Garda McLoughlin’s family.

He said they were devastated and could not understand why someone had done this to the memory of their youngest son.

Supt English added: “These people not only removed the plaque but also sprayed graffiti on it. I don’t know how anyone can stoop so low.

“I don’t known how much more this family can take. They have endured the loss of their son, a criminal trial and then the escape of Martin McDermott. All they ask is time to grieve for their unnecessary loss.

“There are no words to describe it. I have never experienced such an act. They now find themselves plunged into further grief,” Supt English said.

“They are deeply, deeply hurt and are totally confused at why someone would want to inflict such pain on them.”

The Garda Superintendent said everything would be done to track down the people responsible.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the majority of people in Buncrana and Donegal will be repulsed by this. They have been very supportive to the McLoughlin family and no effort will be spared by us to bring the perpetrators who done this to justice.

“I would ask people to come forward and I am confident that whoever did this is from the local community.”

They knew what additional hurt and pain they were going to cause by doing this, he said.

Earlier this month, the McLoughlin family travelled from their native Fenagh, Co Leitrim, to receive a posthumous honour from Donegal County Council in memory of Garda McLoughlin following a motion by Bridgend councillor Murray.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday Colr. Murray said“It was a sinister act which horrified the community that Garda McLoughlin was serving when he tragically lost his life.”

He added: “This incident happened within weeks of Donegal County Council posthumously granting Garda McLoughlin the highest honour in the county.

“That sense of collective pride in Garda McLoughlin is what should be remembered, not the actions of some mindless hooligans who are out of step with the feelings of our community.”