Monday 26 September 2016

High-profile priest hits out at cuts to garda resources - 'Gardai willingly do work alone but I wonder should they be'

State funeral of murdered Garda Tony Golden has been arranged

Published 13/10/2015 | 11:44

Fr. Michael Cusack, Rector and Parish Priest, St Joseph’s Redemptorist
Fr. Michael Cusack, Rector and Parish Priest, St Joseph’s Redemptorist
Fr. Michael Cusack, St Joseph's Redemptorist, arriving for the service for the late Garda Anthony Golden. Photo: Caroline Quinn

A high-profile priest who strongly criticised government cuts to garda resources during his eulogy at the funeral of murdered Detective Adrian Donohoe has again hit out at gardai having to work on their own in dangerous situations because of cuts.

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Speaking as he attended a prayer service for Garda Tony Golden at Dundalk garda station, Redemptorist Rector Fr Michael Cusack said no compensation can ever take the place of a father, or a serving member of the gardai who is trying to keep the peace in this country.

"I think the staffing levels need to be upped and the commitment financially needs to be upped. One life gone is one life too many and the sorrow that has been visited on the Golden family isn't one that can be wiped away by any financial move or anything else," he told Independent.ie.

"Omeath is lucky to have a teeny little garda station, but the group that are looking after the border are still finding themselves having to go out on their own. Male and female guards having to do a lot of tasks on their own - they do them willingly but I wonder should they be doing them alone," he added.

He said the the murder of Garda Tony Golden in Omeath on Sunday must be demoralising for the rest of the Garda force.

The State funeral of murdered Garda Tony Golden has been arranged.

The requiem mass will take place at 12 noon on Thursday at the Church of St Oliver Plunkett in Blackrock, Co Louth.

Garda Chaplain Fr Joe Kennedy said the life of Garda Golden will be celebrated despite the tragic circumstances of his death.

Garda Golden was remembered by Garda colleagues at a prayer service in Dundalk today as a big, gentle, quiet and kind man who did his job without fuss and who was a devoted father to his three young children and husband to wife Nicola.

Echoing Fr Cusack's view was Archdeacon David Pierpoint, representing the Church of Ireland members of An Garda Siochana.

Attending the prayer service he said the issue of manpower in the border regions is something he feels needs to be looked at by garda management and government.

Garda Tony Golden's widow Nicola is a member of the Church of Ireland faith.

Responding to the call for more gardai in the area, Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan told Independent.ie that staffing levels are kept under continuous review.

"Staffing levels across the wider organisation is something that we are addressing. We are very conscious of the peculiarities and uniqueness of what it means in policing a border area, particularly in the type of crime on a border area in terms of dissident activity," she said.

"We work very closely with our colleagues in the PSNI and we are very grateful to them for their solidarity and support at times like this but it is something that we keep under continuous review," she added.

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