Tony's widow receives medal in his memory
The annual memorial ceremony for gardai killed in the line of duty was marked yesterday with a poignant reminder of the dangers and tragedy faced by gardai and their families.
Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan spoke of the agony suffered by bereaved families of gardai and spoke of Garda Anthony Golden, (below) the latest of 88 officers killed during service. He was murdered last October in Omeath, Co Louth by a deranged gunman who then shot himself.
Garda Golden's widow, Nicola, and their three children attended along with the family of Garda Adrian Donohoe, also from Dundalk, who was shot dead in January 2013. Garda Donohoe's eight-year-old son, Niall, gave one of the readings at the ceremony.
The Taoiseach joined Commissioner O'Sullivan and Minister for Justice and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald in a show of solidarity at the Garda Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.
Commissioner O'Sullivan described the annual event as "the most important day in the calendar of An Garda Síochána because it goes to the heart of what we are and what we are prepared to do".
She added: "Every guard knows the ultimate sacrifice may be required of them. They know, too, that courage may be demanded without warning, when they least expect it.
"Eighty-eight of our brothers, our colleagues, our friends, have met that challenge. Tragically, of course, that number increased since we were here last year with the death of our colleague Garda Anthony Golden.
"In remembering each of the 88 gardai who lost their lives in the line of duty, we are reminded of a brutal truth. Statistics - numbers like 88 - are always plural. But tragedy? Tragedy is always singular. Tragedy is the aching terror of a loved one answering the doorbell, seeing the two blue shadows through the glass and knowing, before they are told, that they have lost a loved one.
"Nobody can share that. Nobody can fully understand the sudden shock - or how it moves, over time, into a chronic sad loneliness.
"Some of you here have gone through that. And to the bravery of the day and the days immediately following that day, many of you added the bravery of raising a family on your own.
" Any of us who are parents know the challenge involved.
"We can only imagine the determination that must go into keeping a hero alive to his children - making sure that they are remembered as more than a uniformed man in a photograph".
The District Officer for the south city centre, Superintendent Joseph Gannon, oversaw arrangements for yesterday's ceremony.
Supt Gannon, along with his northside counterpart, Superintendent Kevin Gralton, were responsible for policing the city events over the 1916 commemorations.