Gardaí mourn 'brother in blue' Tony Golden, shot in Louth murder-suicide

Gardaí mourn 'brother in blue' Tony Golden, shot in Louth murder-suicide
Garda Tony Golden

UPDATE (5.15pm): Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan has arrived at the scene of last night's shooting in Omeath.

UPDATE (5.03pm): Garda chaplain Fr Joe Kennedy visited the wife of murdered Garda Tony Golden today as she struggled to make arrangements for the burial of her 36-year-old husband.

“I told Nicola there is nothing any of us can say or do that would change what’s happened,” he said.

“But I said we will be there with you over the coming days, to celebrate Tony’s life and the good man that he was, the great garda that he was, and most of all the great family man that he was, blessed with three beautiful children.”

The heartbroken mother-of-three was being comforted at home in Blackrock, Co Louth, by her parents while they awaited the arrival of Garda Golden’s parents, who are travelling from Ballina in Co Mayo.

“They are all just devastated, as we all are,” said Fr Kennedy.

“I told her we would be there with her over the coming days, but what can you say? It’s such a terrible tragedy.”

Garda Golden was murdered as he escorted a woman to her home after she made a complaint of domestic abuse.

Mr Golden had travelled with the woman to a house she had shared with dissident republican Adrian Crevan Mackin in the Co Louth village of Omeath when he was shot dead.

Adrian Crevan Mackin. Pic: Facebook
Adrian Crevan Mackin. Pic: Facebook

The woman, in her early 20s and believed to be the gunman’s partner, was also shot a number of times and is said to be in a critical condition in hospital.

Gardaí mourn 'brother in blue' Tony Golden, shot in Louth murder-suicide

The dead officer’s commander, Superintendent Gerry Curley, revealed he had taken a written statement from the woman on Sunday afternoon in the local station and then travelled with her and her father to the terraced house where they were gunned down.

The seriously-injured woman’s father was waiting outside the house when Mackin opened fire.

UPDATE (4.38pm): Garda Tony Golden is being hailed as a hero as investigations into his death continue this evening.

"This is a very tragic event, to lose a member of An Garda Síochána" she said.

She added: "And I suppose it brings for us, in very sharp focus, the dangers faced by the men and women of An Garda Síochána every single day."

UPDATE (3.55pm): The Association of Garda Superintendents also offered its sympathies.

"On behalf of the Association of Garda Superintendents, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the wife, children, family and colleagues of Garda Tony Golden.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with everyone affected by this tragic incident over the coming days."

UPDATE (2.45pm): Superintendent Curley, Garda Golden’s supervisor in Dundalk, was clearly shaken as he paid tribute to the 36-year-old who joined his ranks after leaving Dublin eight years ago.

“Garda Tony Golden was an excellent member of An Garda Síochána,” he said.

“He was meticulous in the way he went about his work. He was a quiet, unassuming person who did his job in a diligent manner.

“He was a credit to An Garda Síochána and he will be a major loss to us all.”

UPDATE (1.55pm): A politician who was helped by Tony Golden when she received death threats has paid tribute to a “professional and friendly” garda who wholly embraced the community.

The murdered father-of-three was assigned to handle Catriona Ruane’s case when the sinister threats against her life were issued.

The Sinn Féin representative is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, but lives in the Omeath area.

Mrs Ruane said: “He was a Mayo man, like myself from Mayo, and we used to often joke that we were both exiled from our native county in Co Louth.

“He was really professional, he was really good at his job, he worked very closely with the local community alert (Garda initiative) and I think what is testament is that on a Sunday evening he was calling to a woman who was obviously deeply distressed with her life in danger. Little did we know how much her life was in danger.”

“He was very friendly, very good at his job, he embraced community alert, he wasn’t ticking a box, he embraced working with the community and it wasn’t a surprise to me he was one of the first at a home where a woman was absolutely distressed.”

UPDATE (1.56pm): Garda Tony Golden was originally from Co Mayo.

His school principal at St Muredachs College in Ballina was Leo Golden (no relation). He told LMFM that Garda Golden was a gentle giant.

"Anthony, as we would have known him, would have been remembered as a very big, gentle man. He was always a very likeable young man (who) loved a laugh," he said.

"He was very quiet and very, very gentle.

"There is a great sense of sadness around the school at his untimely passing."

UPDATE (1.40pm): A Garda Superintendent has today described the circumstances surrounding the death of Garda Tony Golden.

Speaking at a press conference at Dundalk Garda Station, Superintendent Gerry Curley said: "Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, a female called to Omeath garda station by prior arrangement to make a written statement of complaint in relation to a domestic incident.

"Following the taking of the statement of complaint both garda Golden and the female, accompanied by her father, went to her home at 16 Mullach Alainn, Omeath.

"Both Garda Golden and the female entered the house. Her father remained outside.

"Shortly afterwards gunshots were heard in the house. Her father immediately raised the alarm and the gardaí were contacted by way of 999.

"Gardaí and emergency services responded to the scene.

"On entering the house Garda Tony Golden was found with a number of gunshot wounds which proved to be fatal.

"Another male, who has now been identified as Adrian Crevan Mackin, was found with a fatal gunshot wound.

Adrian Crevan Mackin. Pic: Facebook
Adrian Crevan Mackin. Pic: Facebook

"The female who had made the complaint was found in the house with a number of serious gunshot wounds.

"She has been removed to hospital and remains in a critical condition.

"A firearm was recovered at the scene. A full investigation is now underway into all aspects surrounding this incident."

Gardaí mourn 'brother in blue' Tony Golden, shot in Louth murder-suicide

Garda Golden, also known for his charity work, had been in the force for 11 years.

Previously stationed in Dublin, he moved to Dundalk in 2007 and spent the past six years posted to Omeath on the Irish border where “he carried out his duty to a very high standard”, Supt Curley said.

“He was well known and well respected throughout Omeath and throughout the Dundalk area,” he added.

“It is a tragic loss for Dundalk district, particularly following on in a short space of time from the death of Adrian Donohoe.”

Armed robbers shot dead Detective Garda Donohoe in the village of Lordship, a few miles from Omeath on the Cooley peninsula, on January 25, 2013.

The police chief said the second Garda killing within three years has “certainly had an impact” on her rank and file as well the local community.

“Speaking to some people here today, I understand and can empathise with the numbness, the shock and the sense of loss they feel,” she said.

“But that numbness, the shock and the sense of loss is mostly felt here in this (Garda) district, by Tony’s colleagues he had served with in Dublin and right throughout the country and the wider family of An Garda Síochána.

“Tony was very respected and held in very high esteem.

“He lived in the community, he worked in the community and he served the community. He served it with dignity, with pride and with distinction.”

Commissioner O’Sullivan added: “He was a very proud family man and his wife Nicola, the loss is unthinkable for her, his parents and the extended family. Our heartfelt support and sympathy goes out to them.”

The Garda chief acknowledged the country-wide support and solidarity offered, led by President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

“That sense of solidarity and support is the only small comfort we can bring to Nicola and Tony’s parents on a day like today,” she said.

UPDATE (12.55): Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said that she will be visiting Tony Golden's family today, as well as the scene of the shooting.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said the latest killing has proved “very traumatic” for officers, particularly younger members in the district.

“My thoughts are with the families of all the individuals who are involved in this absolutely horrific and tragic incident,” she said.

“But especially our thoughts are with Tony Golden’s wife Nicola and his three young children, his parents and his wider extended family.”

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) said it had lost a "brother in blue" and Ireland had lost a hero after the murder of Garda Tony Golden in Co Louth.

Garda Golden, 36, was responding to a domestic disturbance at a house in Omeath at about 6.30pm yesterday when he and a woman who lived at the house were shot by a man who later took his own life.

Twenty-four-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin, who was armed with a handgun, had been before the Special Criminal Court in January on charges of IRA membership and was on bail.

The GRA said the fact that he was out on bail was a warning to the Minister for Justice to take action on bail laws.

Garda Golden was a married father of three young children who had more than 10 years service in the Gardaí. He was originally from Mayo.

The woman who was also shot in the incident yesterday evening is in a stable condition in hospital.

GRA president Dermot O'Brien (pictured below) said the Force had lost a "brother in blue", adding: "Darkness has descended over the membership of An Garda Síochána.

"We're suffering beyond comprehension. What has to be taken into account is the unit that was working yesterday is the same unit that attended (detective garda) Adrian Donohoe's murder (in January, 2013)."

Gardaí mourn 'brother in blue' Tony Golden, shot in Louth murder-suicide

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, local councillor Richie Culhane, who is himself a former garda, said the Louth area was “dangerous” for members of the gardaí.

“It points to the fact that Louth remains a very dangerous place to work for members of An Garda Síochána," he said.

“It also points to the fact that members of An Garda Síochána put themselves in dangerous situations every day.”

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said we should never forget that it takes courage to be a Garda.

"We should never forget the courage it takes to respond to a request from the community to make sure that community is safe," she said.

"This was a family man with young children out doing his job on a Sunday evening, and it is appalling he was gunned down in these circumstances."

Local councillor Mark Dearey said: "Last night people were speechless, and today the emotions are starting to come to the surface.

"It was very difficult up in the school playground there, in the school car park there, just dropping the kids off to school and talking to our friends and neighbours about the most unbelievable invasion of violence - awful, awful violence - that has left a garda dead, the perpetrator himself dead, and a young woman, a neighbour of ours, struggling for her life."

Tánaiste Joan Burton also expressed her sympathies to Garda Golden's wife Nicola.

“While we await the circumstances to emerge, our thoughts have to be with the relatives of the victims,” Ms Burton said.

“In particular, I want to express remorse for the death of Garda Anthony Golden while carrying out his work. This has been a tragic and dark weekend. When such events occur, they put much of our daily news and concerns in perspective.”

President Michael D Higgins said that he is deeply shocked and appalled by the death.

"I've issued a statement to say how deeply shocked I was to hear of the death of a garda in the course of his duty being shot and of course my sympathy goes out to his extended family, his three young children, and his extended family and friends ... and of course his colleagues in the Gardaí," he said.

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