Taoiseach pays tribute to slain Garda Tony Golden

President sympathises over ‘terrible loss of young member of force’ in pursuit of his duty

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has paid tribute to Garda Tony Golden, who was shot dead after responding to a domestic disturbance at a house in Co Louth.

Mr Kenny, speaking at the Mansion House on Monday, extended his sympathy to Garda Golden's family, colleagues and members of An Garda Síochána.

“It’s so sad to have something like this happen,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to Superintendent Doherty in Ballina, who’s been down to visit the parents of Tony Golden. What can I say? To Nicola and her three young children this is a terrible tragedy,” he said.


“Obviously a full report will be made available by the Commissioner and the Minister for Justice, but I think it puts into context the work that the members of the Garda Síochána do every day all over the country.”

President Michael D Higgins contacted the Garda Commissioner to express his sympathies on the "terrible loss of a young member of the force, while doing his duty on behalf of the State and all of society".

“This most serious and tragic incident has not only led to the death of a member of An Garda Síochána, while on duty, but tragically has also involved the death of one and the serious injury of another person,” Mr Higgins said.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said the incident highlighted the unique nature of the job carried out by An Garda Síochána.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my colleague in a fatal shooting incident . . . while carrying out their duties,” she said.

“At this time my thoughts and prayers and those of the entire Garda service are with his family, friends and colleagues.”

Tánaiste Joan Burton said it had been a “tragic and dark weekend”.

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

"In particular, I want to express remorse for the death of Garda Anthony Golden while carrying out his work."

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said she was "appalled" by Garda Golden's death and that he would be "mourned by the entire nation".

“While no words at this time can be expected to console his wife and children, his family, his colleagues and all who loved him, they know that he gave his life in the best traditions of An Garda Síochána, protecting the community he was so proud to serve,” she said.

A tribute to Garda Golden was paid in the High Court on Monday.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton said in a short address before starting Garda Compensation business that events like this were “a reminder of how much we owe to our police force”.

All in the courtroom then stood and a moment of silence was observed.

The Association of Garda Superintendents expressed their condolences to the family of Garda Golden and everyone affected by the incident.

‘Horrific incident’

Woman's Aid director Margaret Martin expressed shock and deep sadness of the "horrific domestic violence incident" that lead to the death of Garda Golden.

“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,” she said.

“Women’s Aid would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the wife and young children of Garda Golden, to his family, friends and colleagues in An Garda Síochána.

“Our thoughts are also with the woman and her children and her family and we hope that she will make a full recovery.”

Ms Martin said 55 per cent of women murdered in Ireland are killed by their partners and former partners.

“This terrible tragedy highlights the crucial role members of An Garda Síochána play in helping women escape from violent and abusive partners,” she said.

“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.”

Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clarke said the incident was “deeply saddening”.

“ Garda Golden’s killing is a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of members of the police in every part of the island who work each day to protect others - they deserve our heartfelt and ongoing support,” he said.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) extended its sympathies and said in a statement the shooting was a reminder that gardaí put themselves in harm’s way to protect communities across Ireland every day.

“The courage displayed by Garda Golden differs only in that his actions were met by such a vicious response,” it said.

“Our tradition of unarmed policing underpins the trust and esteem in which gardaí are held and we must not allow it to be undermined by the isolated actions of a man of violence.”

‘Stark reminder’

Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said Garda Golden’s death was a “stark reminder” of the risks gardaí face every day.

“Garda Golden bravely laid down his life in the line of duty and displayed great courage in protecting the community he served,” he said.

Frank Feighan TD, chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, said the committee acknowledged the service provided by An Garda Síochána every day.

“Garda Golden’s great sacrifice will not be forgotten and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time,” he said.

On Sunday, a woman had gone to gardaí in Omeath to express her fear that her partner was going to kill her and himself.

Garda Golden had escorted the woman to the property on the Mullach Álainn estate in the north Louth village to collect her personal items at about 6.30pm.

The woman was shot by the man when she entered the home. She remains in a serious condition.

Garda Golden was fatally shot before the man, dissident republican Adrian Crevan Mackin, took his own life.

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is an Irish Times journalist