The home village of murdered Garda Tony Golden will come to a sorrowful standstill today as thousands of mourners gather to say their farewells.
President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will attend the funeral in Blackrock, Co Louth, at which Garda Golden will receive full state honours.
Several thousand uniformed and plain-clothed gardaí will also gather to honour their colleague, walking as a united group with his coffin as it moves through the village to the Church of St Oliver Plunkett.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, other government representatives, and the Garda commissioner will also be in attendance, as will representatives of the Northern Assembly and Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Dáil business has been suspended and all Oireachtas committees are cancelled for the services, which begin at midday. Flags will fly at half-mast on public buildings.
A major traffic management plan is being put in place to deal with the crowds expected to attend. Blackrock village is home to fewer than 3,000 people but will have to host several times that number for the day.
Only 300 mourners can be accommodated inside the church so large screens, showing proceedings, are being erected in the church grounds and village centre.
Hundreds of people queued to pay their respects yesterday when Garda Golden’s remains were returned to his family home in the Sandy Grove estate in the village where his heartbroken wife Nicola, and the couple’s three young children were comforted by family and friends.
The 36-year-old native of Ballina, Co Mayo, was shot dead in Omeath village, across the Cooley peninsula from his home, on Sunday night by 24-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin who also shot his estranged partner, Siobhán Phillips, before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
Ms Phillips, 24, the mother of two young children, was being accompanied by Garda Golden to the house she had shared with Mackin to collect some of her personal belongings after making a complaint of domestic violence against him.
She was critically injured and is fighting for her life in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. Her family yesterday paid tribute to Garda Golden, saying they would be forever in his debt.
Her parents, Seán — who was first on the terrible scene after waiting for Siobhán outside the house — and Norma Phillips, said in a statement: “We would like to pay tribute to and express our condolences to the family and colleagues of Garda Anthony Golden.
“Garda Golden, in the service and protection of others, laid down his life for my daughter Siobhán, myself, and my family. There are no words to express our gratitude for his bravery, we are forever in his debt.
“Our beautiful daughter Siobhán, a loving mother, sister, and friend, is fighting for her life. For now, we pray for Siobhán’s recovery and for the family of Garda Golden as they face their immeasurable grief.
“We ask for privacy for our family and Siobhán’s small children at this time.”
The family also laid a wreath among the flowers left at Omeath Garda Station where Garda Golden was among just three members of the force serving the area.
After his funeral Mass, Garda Golden will be buried at St Paul’s Cemetery, Heynestown, a short distance from St Oliver Plunkett Church.
No details have been announced yet for the funeral of Adrian Crevan Mackin. Arrangements are being handled by a funeral directors in his native Newry.
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