Thursday 27 July 2017

Selfless and brave garda Golden gives all of us a lesson in leadership

It was a week of elation and grief, where two very different types of heroes inspired all of us, says Brendan O'Connor

HORROR: Scene of shooting in the sleepy village of Omeath, Co Louth, where Garda Tony
Golden gave his life to protect Siobhan Phillips who was subjected to domestic violence
HORROR: Scene of shooting in the sleepy village of Omeath, Co Louth, where Garda Tony Golden gave his life to protect Siobhan Phillips who was subjected to domestic violence
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

The thing that most of us cannot understand about the death of Garda Tony Golden is why he was in that position in the first place. Why did he end up unarmed at that house? Garda Golden clearly knew the potential for some kind of scene because he told Siobhan Phillips' father Sean to stay outside so as not to provoke the situation. Doubtless we will learn a lot more about why Garda Golden ended up at that house unarmed and without back up. Questions are being asked about resources, about manpower, about the level of knowledge the gardai south of the Border had about Adrian Crevan Mackin.

But that doesn't stop a lot of us from wondering why he went there. Because most of us wouldn't. Most of us, if we were a garda not earning a huge amount of money, on our own at the station because the only other garda was out on a call, would have decided it was more than our job was worth to go up to that house and risk any bit of unpleasantness.

In the absence of a colleague to discuss it with, we would have erred on that side of putting it off. Equally we don't know at this point if Tony Golden sought back up or discussed the matter with anyone else. But most of us know in our hearts we would have weaselled out of going there.

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