Monday 5 December 2016

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald: Garda Anthony Golden 'will be mourned by the entire nation, grateful for the service he gave to it'

Published 13/10/2015 | 21:10

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald speaking at her Budget Press Briefing at the Italian Room at Government Buildings.
Pic Steve Humphreys
13th Ocober 2015.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald speaking at her Budget Press Briefing at the Italian Room at Government Buildings. Pic Steve Humphreys 13th Ocober 2015.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the past 48 hours had been a dark period for the Garda and highlighted the dangerous work they carry out every day in the service of their communities and their country.

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Ms Fitzgerald made her comments after making a private visit to the family of Garda Anthony Golden, who was murdered on Sunday evening while accompanying a victim of domestic abuse to her home.

Garda Anthony Golden
Garda Anthony Golden

The minister also paid a visit to the divisional garda headquarters in Dundalk.

"The fact that a garda has laid down his life while protecting the community is a cause of great sadness," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"His death will be mourned by the entire nation, grateful for the service which he gave to it."

 

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan at Dundalk Garda Station for a mass after the murder of Garda Anthony Golden.
Pic:Mark Condren
13.10.2015
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan at Dundalk Garda Station for a mass after the murder of Garda Anthony Golden. Pic:Mark Condren 13.10.2015
Fr. Michael Cusack, St Joseph's Redemptorist, arriving for the service for the late Garda Anthony Golden. Photo: Caroline Quinn

"This is a very difficult time for all the family and his colleagues and I know the thoughts and prayers of the people of Ireland are with them.

"An Garda Siochana and all of us will see what lessons can be learned from Sunday evening's dreadful events in the light of the full garda investigation into them.

"But for now, one thing is crystal clear: Garda Golden behaved in an exemplary manner in trying to protect the community he was so proud to serve".

Asked about her conversation with Nicola Golden, Mrs Fitzgerald said it was such an appalling event that there were not really any words that could capture what had happened.

The remains of Garda Anthony Golden pass the Church of St Oliver Plunkett, Blackrock, County Louth on his final journey home
The remains of Garda Anthony Golden pass the Church of St Oliver Plunkett, Blackrock, County Louth on his final journey home
The Book of Condolences for the late Garda Anthony Golden at Dundalk Garda Station, Co. Louth. Photo: Caroline Quinn
An Irish flag flies at half mast at Dundalk Garda Station, in honour of the late Garda Anthony Golden. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Read more here: Body of murdered garda Tony Golden begins final journey home  

This was a garda out doing his job in response to a cry for help in the way that gardai did their jobs every day of the week, Ms Fitzgerald said.

She said the gardai in Dundalk were very shocked as it happened so quickly after the murder of their colleague Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in January 2013.

She said it was truly dreadful for the gardai in that district to be left facing the loss of two colleagues in such a short time.

Flowers are left at the scene of the shooting of Garda Tony Golden in Omeath
Flowers are left at the scene of the shooting of Garda Tony Golden in Omeath
Flowers are left at Omeath Garda Station

Read more here: Dáil pays tribute to victims of 'truly horrific' weekend before Budget 2016 announcement  

The minister said she had also received messages of sympathy from Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers.

In response to queries, Defence Minister Simon Coveney said he would be very slow to make commentary on an incident that was extremely raw and before a funeral had taken place.

This was a domestic violence incident that had resulted in an awful tragedy and he would not read into it that it meant there was a specific problem in the Border area.

Asked if the number of soldiers stationed along the Border should be increased, Mr Coveney said he did not want to give the impression that soldiers would be out on the streets but his department would assess the security scenario on the Border in liaison with the Department of Justice.

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