Thursday 22 February 2018

There's no thanks for risks they take, says mum of slain garda

Gary McLoughlin’s mum Una, dad Noel and brother Enda at his funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church, Foxfield Co Leitrim in 2009
Gary McLoughlin’s mum Una, dad Noel and brother Enda at his funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church, Foxfield Co Leitrim in 2009
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

The mother of another young garda who was killed in the line of duty says people have little appreciation for the risks officers take every day.

Gary McLoughlin (24), from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, died in hospital 24 hours after his patrol car was rammed by a stolen car in Burt, Co Donegal, in December 2009.

His killer, Martin McDermott (29), was released from the Midlands Prison last month after serving just four years of a seven-year manslaughter sentence.

Speaking from her Leitrim home, Garda McLoughlin's mother Una told the Irish Independent she was heartbroken for the family of Garda Tony Golden after he became the latest young man to lose his life while serving his community. "It's going to be very hard for that poor woman, I know exactly how she is feeling today. I'm just devastated for her.

Garda Gary McLoughlin
Garda Gary McLoughlin

"It's going to be so hard for her and her three little children and my heart goes out to her," she added.

She said people had little appreciation for the fact that gardaí put themselves in harm's way every day. And she called for more to be done to protect the men and women who put themselves in danger protecting their communities.

"Gary was the 83rd garda death, he was the last to die when we opened the memorial garden for all the gardaí who died.

"There have been five more since 2009 in tragic circumstances like this. It's too many. They have to do something. It's a terrible job and I wouldn't encourage any of my children to do it. I didn't encourage Gary, it was his own choice and it's what he wanted. But there is no thanks for it. People don't seem to appreciate what they do," she added.

Speaking about her own loss, Mrs McLoughlin added that she must live with her grief every day.

"It doesn't take something like this to bring it back, you never forget, it's there every day. We're doing OK, we're alive, living day to day. But part of us is gone and it's never coming back," she added.

Mrs McLoughlin spoke out after the death of Garda Tony Golden, which has led to an outpouring of grief and outrage around the country.

The young father of three was murdered last Sunday as he helped domestic violence victim Siobhán Phillips to leave her home in Omeath, Co Louth.

Ms Phillips, who was also shot multiple times in the incident, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

The gunman, Adrian Crevan Mackin, then killed himself.

On Thursday, close to 5,000 mourners, including 4,000 gardaí, attended Garda Golden's State funeral at St Oliver Plunkett Church in the seaside village of Blackrock, near Dundalk, where he had lived with his young family.

The sea of blue offered comfort to Garda Golden's grief-stricken widow Nicola and three young children, Lucy, Alex and Andrew, along with the slain garda's parents, David and Breege, and siblings, David, Kenneth, Patrick, Sean and Mary.

Among the mourners were President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, who gave the homily at the funeral, described the father of three as an extraordinary member of the force who had become a "hero in death".

During the funeral mass, Fr Pádraig Keenan told mourners Garda Golden's death was a "cold-blooded murder" of a "guardian of the peace" in the line of duty.

Telling mourners that Tony was the 88th member of An Garda Síochána to die protecting the country, society and community, Fr Keenan added: "It is 88 members too many. He, like all the others, is mourned by the entire nation. His murder brings to mind once again all the families and communities that have been affected on our island."

Referring to the unsolved murder of Det Garda Adrian O'Donohue three years ago in nearby Lordship, Fr Keenan said: "Too many hearts have been broken and lives shattered. I say on this day, from the depths of my heart - and I am sure I speak for all people of goodwill - when I say that there is no place for violence in our society, violence is wrong, always wrong."

Irish Independent

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