Friday 23 March 2018

Garda gunned down in murder suicide was 'an Irish hero who put his life on the line for his community'

Garda Representative Association says it plans to speak to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on bail reform

Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron

David Kearns

Questions must be asked over Ireland’s bail laws says the Garda Representative Association, who praised slain Garda Tony Golden as “an Irish hero who died putting his life on the line for his community”.

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.

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”.

Read More: Garda responding to 999 call murdered by terror suspect

“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.”

Read More: Gunman had been on bail after he was charged with membership of the IRA

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 24-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin – was on bail for terrorist offences when he shot and killed Garda Tony Golden before turning his handgun on himself, taking his own life.

A young woman was also injured in the incident in Omeath and was described as being in a critical condition last night.

“This is a time of grieving and today isn’t the day to be asking what could have been done but I can guarantee wholeheartedly we will be laying this bare at the feet of the Minister for Justice,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Something needs to be done about the bail laws.”

Paying tribute to the slain officer, Mr O’Brien said his death had caused a “darkness to descend across all members of An Garda Síochána”.

“Sadly we’re the only job in Ireland were we can’t promise to our families when we walk out the door that we’re going to come back.

Read More: The murder of second garda leads to a 'corridor of lawlessness' in border area

“People need to take into account that the unit that was working yesterday in Louth is the same unit that attended Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe’s murder.

"These people, in a short space of time, will be burying two of their members, their friends.

“[But] as we talk about losing a member of An Garda Síochána, the Golden family have lost a father, a husband, and a son.

"Our thoughts and prays are with them now in this sad sad time," Mr O’Brien added.

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