Slain Tony Golden was popular, diligent, outgoing

A family man, a son of Co Mayo, adopted by Co Louth — Garda Tony Golden was, according to those who knew him, a popular man with a heightened sense of civic duty.

Born and raised in the village of Culleens near Ballina, he was raised alongside his four brothers and younger sister by parents David — a farmer and a taxi driver in Ballina — and Bríd.

The middle child in the family, he attended the local national school, Scoil Naomh Bríd.

Yesterday the school principal, Clair Cooke, recalled teaching Tony and his siblings, describing the family as “good people”.

“He was a lovely young fella,” Ms Cooke said. “Full of the joys and into sport.”

He played football and hurling and later attended St Muredach’s College in Ballina, leaving in 1996.

He began studying engineering in DIT, but the call of An Garda Síochána meant he later switched to training in Templemore. He was first posted to Cabinteely in Dublin and it is understood he first met the woman who he later married, Nicola, in the capital.

Nicola, a public health nurse, is originally from Blackrock near Dundalk, and the couple were married in May 2008.

Slain Tony Golden was popular, diligent, outgoing

Tony’s transfer to Omeath, where recently he was one of three gardaí working in the local station, meant the family were close to Nicola’s relatives. They have three children — two girls and a boy, the eldest of whom is eight.

In Omeath, Tony was seen as a valued member of the community, one that has seen its own share of troubles over the years due to its proximity to the border. Fr Christy McElwee said locals in the area “knew him well”.

“He was a very popular man here, very outgoing,” he said. “The gardaí can be very proud of him — he was a very diligent man.”

One photograph of Tony shows him with a moustache — just one example of his fundraising activities. He, like his other siblings now living away from Ballina, paid visits home and was admired in the area where he lived and where he worked.

The gap left by his senseless murder is being felt in more than one place. According to Ms Cooke: “It is very traumatic for everyone.”

More on this topic

IRA charge struck out against Adrian Mackin, who killed garda Tony GoldenIRA charge struck out against Adrian Mackin, who killed garda Tony Golden

WATCH: Drone footage of Garda Tony Golden's funeral shows massive Guard of HonourWATCH: Drone footage of Garda Tony Golden's funeral shows massive Guard of Honour

Thousands bid farewell to 'our garda' Tony GoldenThousands bid farewell to 'our garda' Tony Golden

President and Taoiseach to attend State funeral of Garda Tony GoldenPresident and Taoiseach to attend State funeral of Garda Tony Golden


Lifestyle

Not all trends are created equal. Some are exciting – like first-date butterflies; others are comforting – like ice-cream and Golden Girls reruns.Trend of the Week: Floral free for all

Veterinary medicine is a demanding career, leading to mental health problems for some vets.Elephant in the clinic: Helpline offers support to vets with mental health difficulties

Pearl Lowe turns 50 in April – and she’s got a lot to celebrate. TA look into the reinvention of Pearl Lowe

Bonnie Ryan couldn’t be happier.On a roll: Why Bonnie Ryan couldn't be happier

More From The Irish Examiner