The state funeral of Garda Tony Golden is taking place today. Garda Golden was shot dead in the line of duty on Sunday night last at a housing estate in Omeath, Co. Louth.
The 36 year old Garda will be buried following his funeral mass at 12 noon today at St Oliver Plunkett’s Church in Blackrock, Co. Louth where he and his wife Nicola lived with their three young children.
President Michael D. Higgins, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’ Sullivan all led tributes following the news of Tony’s death. The President said “I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the garda who so tragically lost his life while responding to this incident. My thoughts at this time are also with all others who have been affected by the events in Omeath earlier this evening.”
The Justice Minister said “The fact a garda has laid down his life while protecting the community is a cause of great sadness.His death will be mourned by the entire nation, grateful for the service which he gave to it.” She also said “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 he gave his life in the best traditions of An Garda Siochana protecting the community he was so proud to serve.”
The Garda Representatives Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors echoed the Garda Commissioners statement following the news. The Commissioner said she was deeply saddened to hear of the death of her colleague. “At this time my thoughts and prayers and those of the entire Gardaservice are with his family, friends and colleagues.This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Síochána, and the dangers they face everyday. I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my colleague in a fatal shooting incident this evening while carrying out their duties” she said.
A state funeral will take place for the late Garda. A Traffic Management Plan has been put in place and roads around the village of Blackrock are closed from 10am until approximately 2pm today. Thousands of people are expected to attend the funeral including the President, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and members of all political parties. The GRA is providing bus transport for thousands of Gardai from across Ireland who are due to attend the funeral to pay their last respects to their colleague.
The Government has said that flags will fly at half mast from public offices and Garda stations today. The Dail sitting is also being suspended for the day.
Reacting to the shooting dead of Garda Golden, the Garda Representative Association said it is shocked and saddened by the awful news. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time. GRA President Dermot O’Brien said, “This dreadful, dreadful news is the deepest fear of every police family. This puts everything we do into perspective. At this time of distress, the garda family will be doing everything possible to support the late garda’s relatives and loved ones, friends and colleagues.” May he Rest in Peace.
Tributes were also paid by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors. Deputy General Secretary of the AGSI, John Jacob said that the Omeath community is “very close-knit and will rally around the gardaí.“This is an incident that could not have been anticipated by the guard. In rural Ireland, gardaí routinely attend calls on their own.The gardaí use all these experiences to learn lessons.”
Members of all the emergency and voluntary services are also in attendance to pay their respects. Senior officials from the Defence Forces, the National Ambulance Service and the Police Service of Northern Ireland are represented at the funeral. The Garda Band will also play at the funeral.
24-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin, who shot the garda, also seriously wounded his girlfriend Siobhan Phillips before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Siobhan Phillips remains in critical condition at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Siobhan’s parents, Sean and Norma Phillips issued a statement and said Tony Golden laid down his life to save their daughter. “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 Siobhan, myself and my family. There are no words to express our gratitude for his bravery; we are forever in his debt.”
Mr and Mrs Phillips said their “beautiful daughter Siobhan, a loving mother, sister and friend” is still fighting for her life at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. For now, we pray for Siobhan’s recovery and for the family of Garda Golden as they face their immeasurable grief and we ask for privacy for our family and Siobhan’s small children at this time.”
Emergency Times would like to extend our sympathy and sincere condolences to the family and friends of the late Garda Tony Golden, and to his colleagues and th members of An Garda Siochana.