Father heard shots that killed Garda Tony Golden, gunman and left his daughter in critical condition
* Tributes paid to 'hero garda'
* IRA terror suspect shoots garda dead, injures woman
* Gunman had been on bail
* Garda Golden was proud husband and father-of-three
* Locals shocked at 'murder-suicide'
Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30
A 'hero garda' and a young woman were attacked by a gunman after they entered a home after a complaint about a domestic dispute, leaving the garda dead and the young woman in a critical condition.
The father of the young woman had accompanied them to the house but waited in a car outside, where he heard the shots.
A press conference on the shooting which left Garda Tony Golden and the gunman dead and the young woman in a critical condition was held this afternoon.
It heard how Garda Tony Golden took a statement from Adrian Crevan Mackin’s partner yesterday, when she went to the garda station with her father to make a complaint about domestic abuse.
"Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, a female called to Omeath garda station by prior arrangement to make a written statement of complaint in relation to a domestic incident," Superintendent Gerry Curley said at Dundalk Garda Station today.
"Following the taking of the statement of complaint both garda Golden and the female, accompanied by her father, went to her home at 16 Mullach Alainn, Omeath.
"Both Garda Golden and the female entered the house. Her father remained outside.
"Shortly afterwards gunshots were heard in the house. Her father immediately raised the alarm and the gardai were contacted by way of 999.
"Gardai and emergency services responded to the scene.
"On entering the house Garda Tony Golden was found with a number of gunshot wounds which proved to be fatal.
"Another male, who has now been identified as Adrian Crevan Mackin, was found with a fatal gunshot wound.
"The female who had made the complaint was found in the house with a number of serious gunshot wounds.
"She has been removed to hospital and remains in a critical condition," Superintendent Gerry Curley continued.
"A firearm was recovered at the scene. A full investigation is now underway into all aspects surrounding this incident."
The unarmed and uniformed officer was murdered in the gun attack when he responded to a 999 call about a domestic incident in Omeath in County Louth last night.
"Today is a very sad and tragic day for members of An Garda Siochana and indeed the local community here in Dundalk," Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan told the press conference.
"I'm particularly mindful that this is the second tragedy that has been visited on the local community here and in particular the members in Dundalk district.
"It is a very traumatic time. An investigation has commenced and all aspects of the investigation will be completely followed.
"My thoughts are with the families of all the individuals involved in this absolutely horrific and tragic incident.
"There is one lady who is in hospital. We wish her a speedy recovery, we understand at the moment she is in a critical condition.
"Our thoughts are also with the bereaved family of Mr Mackin, but I suppose our thoughts today are especially with the Tony Golden's wife Nicola and his three young children, his parents and his wider extended family, and particularly the members of Dundalk district, but also right across An Garda Siochana," Ms O'Sullivan continued.
"This is a very tragic event, to lose a member of An Garda Siochana. Our thoughts are with the families of the now 88 members who have given their lives in the line of duty, and it brings into sharp focus the dangers faced by the men and women of An Garda Siochana going about their duty in protecting vulnerable members of the community, and it just goes to show the dangers that people face every single day in doing their duty.
"I cannot emphasise enough the professionalism of the people here in Dundalk and this morning we had a case conference and last night people were diligently working trying to piece together the circumstances leading to these very tragic events.
"The members are here today putting aside their own personal emotions and I think it is very important to remember that the men and women of An Garda Siochana, in addition to the professionalism, the dedication and the commitment they show - they are human beings and when a colleague is lost in such tragic circumstances they have to park that emotion and trauma.
"I'm very conscious of the members that visited the scene last night, the assistance that they rendered to their colleague and indeed to Mr Mackin and the other injure party in the case."
Commissioner O'Sullivan also paid tribute to the national ambulance service and the ambulance service of Northern Ireland, and her colleagues in the PSNI who offered assistance.
She also extended thanks to the wider community of Ireland for their outpourings of sympathy and support.
"This is the second member of An Garda Siochana that has been lost in a very short space of time, and that certainly has an impact," said Commissioner O'Sullivan.
It also emerged that some of the gardai who arrived at the scene of yesterday's shooting were also first on the scene when Adrian Donohoe was shot dead at Lordship Credit Union in 2013.
"Tony was a well respected member who was held in high esteem. He was out there. he lived in the community, he worked in the community, and he served that community with dignity, pride and distinction," said the Commissioner.
"He was a very very proud family man and for his wife Nicola and his parents the loss is unthinkable," she added.
The commissioner is due to visit Tony Golden's family, and the scene of the shooting, later today.
The killing of the courageous married father of three caused widespread shock and revulsion, and Garda Representative Association President Dermot O’Brien described the incident as “cold blooded murder – a despicable act”.
“Tony Golden was a friend, a colleague, he was a brother in blue,” Mr O’Brien told Newstalk Breakfast.
“Ireland has lost a hero; he laid his life on the line for the community he served.
“Tony was a married man with three young children, and yesterday he went to a call and, sadly like all members of An Garda Síochána, his dedication to serve and protect has ended with the tragic loss of his life.”
Mr O’Brien said that questions now needed to be asked about Irish bail laws as it was revealed that the gunman – named locally as Adrian Crevan Mackin (24) – was on bail for terrorist offences when he shot and killed Garda Tony Golden before turning his handgun on himself, taking his own life.
The Herald understands that she reported a previous incident to gardai on Saturday which was being investigated.
It is understood that a second incident flared in the house yesterday evening and the woman called gardai to say she was afraid her partner would kill her. Her worried relatives had also called the gardai.
Mackin had been questioned about terrorist offences on a number of occasions and was charged with IRA membership before the Special Criminal Court in January. He had been arrested following a number of searches carried out in Dundalk and Newry as part of a joint garda and PSNI investigation into the activities of dissident republicans. He was subsequently granted bail in the High Court.
Gda Golden was a highly respected member of the force with more than 10 years’ service. Originally from Co Mayo, he previously served in the Kill O’ the Grange Station in south Dublin and was later transferred to Louth.
The generous garda took part in the ‘Movember’ charity fundraising drive with colleagues in 2012. Locals in Omeath spoke of Garda Golden as a consummate professional.
“He was a gentle giant and an absolute gentleman, and he was very fair,” said postmistress Marie McGuinness. “He was quietly spoken but a great support. I had a few incidents here like armed robberies which were particularly traumatic, but Tony was a rock to me – a fantastic support.
“Tony was the type of man you could go and have a quiet word with if you had any concerns. He was very highly thought of and respected.”
This morning, the road leading up to the Mullach Alainn estate had been re-opened, but the neighbourhood itself remained sealed-off as a technical examination by gardai continued.
A book of condolence was due to be opened this afternoon at the local Dolmen Centre in Omeath. Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan was also due to visit the region during the day. Fr Christy McElwee said the community was trying to come to terms with the terrible tragedy.
“Talking to local people, they are not familiar with this type of incident, they can’t believe that this is happening in their community,” he said.
“The situation is so shocking, especially as it involved a local guard who everybody knows and liked, a fine family man. It’s a very sad story.”
Fr McElwee led prayers for Gda Golden at mass today.
President Michael D Higgins expressed his condolences to Gda Golden’s family and discussed the incident with Commissioner O’Sullivan.
“I have contacted the Commissioner to express my deepest sympathies on this terrible loss of a young member of the force while doing his duty on behalf of the State and all of society,” said Mr Higgins.
Ms O’Sullivan said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my colleague in a fatal shooting incident this evening while carrying out their duties.
“This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Siochana, and the dangers they face every day.”
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald also paid tribute.
“The fact that a garda has laid down his life while protecting the community is a cause of great sadness,” she said.
“His death will be mourned by the entire nation, grateful for the service which he gave to it.
“Gardai go out everyday, it takes courage to do their job, going out to face the unknown as they do on a daily basis,” Ms Fitzgerald told RTE Radio this morning.
“My thoughts are with members of Garda Siochana and the challenging job they do.
“The entire country will be thinking about that.”
Responding to the reports that Gda Golden attended the scene of a domestic incident alone, Minister Fitzgerald said: “The reality is gardai around the country go out and do their job everyday under all circumstances.
“The investigation at present is to understand the precise circumstances of the incident.”
Green Party councillor Mark Deery said there needs to be extra consideration given to policing on the border.
"We're hoping and praying for a speedy and complete recovery for the young woman so she can be reunited with her family sometime," he told RTE Radio One's News At One.
"The community is deeply shocked and saddened by the violence.
"It feels like an attack on all of us.
"And especially in the sense of a garda who represents all the great traditions of the State.
"All of us, we'll do whatever we can to challenge those who can seem to colonise those who were only born at the time of the peace process. They put a glory on violence and these notions need to be put to rest.
"There is a link between this and Garda Adrian Donohoe's terrible death, and what's happened in this part of the world in the past.
"Gardai need to give serious consideration to additional policing and security in these parts.
"Of course this won't be of any comfort to Garda Golden's wife and his children.
"I'd also like to extend my sympathies to his wife, his family and his extended family in his native Mayo."
The small community of Culleens, Ballina in Co Mayo was left “reeling” this morning as news of Garda Tony Golden’s death spread.
The father-of-three had grown up in the rural area where his parents David and Brid had a small farm.
Tony was one of six children and was recalled as a quiet sports mad student in his hometown today.
Cllr Gerry Ginty, Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District, said the community was in shock this morning.
“They are a lovely family who were sports mad. Tony was a quiet fella and such a nice young guy. It’s hard to believe that he died like this when he was just doing his job,” he said.
“The whole family were a great GAA family and Tony was just the same. He was a great hurler.
“We are all just devastated for the family, especially his wife and children, his parents and his brothers and sister,” he added.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin told RTE Radio One's News at One he was 'deeply shocked' by the weekend's events.
"We've all been deeply shocked by the events of the weekend," he said.
"The Carrickmines tragedy is an enormous loss of life.
"And I would also like to extend my sympathies to the family of Garda Tony Golden and the wider family.
"And indeed to all the families who have lost their lives in this incident, and hoping that the young woman makes a full recovery."
Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary expressed his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Garda Golden.
“I want to express my deepest sympathies to his wife Nicola, their three children, Tony’s parents and his wider family and friends. The Golden family are highly respected in Ballina. They are rooted in the community and through local sporting and community endeavours they have earned the respect and admiration of many people,” he said.
He added that the entire community stood with Garda Golden’s loved one and colleagues and “will continue to show our support in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
“I also want to take this opportunity to express my sadness at the loss of a Garda serving in the line of duty. It reminds us that members of An Garda Siochána display courage and bravery every day. Following on from the enormous tragedy in south Dublin as the weekend I think it is fair to say our emergency services have endured a harrowing weekend. They deserve our continued and steadfast admiration and support,” he added.
A tribute was also paid to the garda today in the High Court.
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.