New armed unit will be ‘carefully deployed’, memorial event told

Remembrance medal presented to wife of Garda Tony Golden


The Garda Síochána’s planned new armed Regional Support Unit will be “very carefully and very selectively deployed”, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has said.

Speaking at the annual Garda memorial day to remember those killed in the line of duty, Ms O’Sullivan said the unit - due to be established next month - “will be dedicated to dealing with organised crime and criminality in all its forms”.

But it would also be carefully deployed “and they won’t forget that their job in common with women and the men right throughout An Garda Siochana everywhere in the service is to work with the community to support the community in preserving the peace and allowing normalised living to go on”.

The Garda, “relies on moral persuasion rather than force of arms and on the support of the community,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“That is an important thing to restate at this time when a small number of gardaí in a specific unit will have to bear arms.”

She was joined by several hundred family members and former colleagues of the 88 gardaí killed while on duty since the foundation of the State on the grounds of Dublin Castle on Saturday for the annual memorial day.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald also attended the ceremony at the Dubhlinn Gardens, which was celebrated by Garda Catholic chaplain Fr Joe Kennedy and Church of Ireland chaplain Archdeacon David Pierpoint.

A remembrance medal was presented to Nicola Golden, the wife of the late Garda Tony Golden who was shot dead near Omeath eight months ago. Garda Golden was the last member of the force killed on duty.

Among those who read prayers of the faithful were Niall Donohoe, son of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe who was killed outside the Lordship Credit Union at Bellurgan, Co Louth in 2013; and Anne McCabe, wife of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe shot in Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996 during the attempted robbery of a post office van.

Mr Kenny said it was a privilege to speak at the event and “to remember with pride and with gratitude the courage of those gardaí” whose lives had been taken on duty.

“In the proud tradition of an Garda Síochána they committed their lives to public service and to the high ideals of what is fair and what is is right and what is just,” Mr Kenny said.

He offered his sympathies to the family members who had made the “ultimate sacrifice” and said the country had “stood appalled by the death on duty of Garda Anthony Golden”.

Ms O’Sullivan said the memorial day was perhaps the most important in the Garda calender “because it goes to the heart of what we are, and what we are prepared to do”.

Remembering Garda Golden she said: “Tony was murdered in cold blood for simply doing his job. His courage, his bravery, his resolve will never be forgotten.”

Ms Fitzgerald paid tribute to the 88 gardaí who had “given their lives so that we may live without fear of harm…we will never forget them”.

The service, which included hymns sung by the Garda choir accompanied by the Garda band, was followed by a wreath laying ceremony which involved representatives of the Garda Síochána Survivors Association and the Retired Members’ Association .