Garda Tony Golden worked with domestic violence victims

Garda Tony Golden

Groups supporting domestic violence victims have praised Garda Tony Golden and said his death and the life-threatening injuries sustained by the gunman’s partner highlighted the crucial role of gardaí.

Adrian Crevan Mackin shot his partner, hairdresser Siobhan Phillips, and Garda Golden before turning the gun on himself. Garda Golden had been responding to a domestic incident when he visited the property in the village of Omeath on Sunday evening.

Ms Phillips, who worked at the Vanity Salon in Newry, is a mother of two young children. She was still in a serious condition in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital last night.

Margaret Martin, director of Women’s Aid, said: “It was with shock and a deep sadness that I learned of the horrific domestic violence incident in Omeath on Sunday evening in which Garda Tony Golden was shot dead and a woman is left fighting for her life.

“Domestic violence is a very serious crime and it affects one in five women in Ireland.

“This terrible tragedy highlights the crucial role members of An Garda Síochána play in helping women escape from violent and abusive partners. Domestic violence is present in every community in every village, town and city in Ireland and every day women reach out to the gardaí for help and support.

“This terrible incident is a stark reminder of the dangerous and sometimes fatal nature of domestic abuse and the tragedy it brings, not only to women and children, but to frontline responders and the community around them too.”

Those sentiments were shared by SAFE Ireland. Its chief executive, Sharon O’Halloran, said Sunday’s incident was “all the more distressing because Garda Golden was shot as he was caring for, supporting and defending a woman because she was in danger and because she feared for her life”.

She paid tribute to Garda Golden and said: “We know from our work and close relationship with the gardaí everyday that their response to domestic violence is critical to women’s safety and wellbeing. Many gardaí carry out brave, compassionate work with women in danger as part of their daily jobs. This everyday compassion can too often go unnoticed.”

Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900; www.womensaid.ie. Safe Ireland: 090 6479078; www.safeireland.ie

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