Friday 22 November 2019

'They had hopes, dreams for their future together'

Garda Tony Golden’s wife Nicola attends his funeral at St Oiver’s Church in Blackrock, Co Louth
Garda Tony Golden’s wife Nicola attends his funeral at St Oiver’s Church in Blackrock, Co Louth

Mark O'Regan

Tony Golden laid down his life to do what he had sworn to do - be a guardian of the peace.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said the father-of-three was an extraordinary member of the force, who had become a "hero in death".

But she also recalled a life that had been filled with hopes and dreams for his wife and children.

In an emotion-charged homily to more than 4,000 gardaí, both serving and retired, she said the pain evoked by his death has touched a chord with each and every member.

The Commissioner said the driving force in his life was to care for his wife and children.


He belonged first to his family, she said.

"Above all, Tony was a family man, a man living with a ring of love forged by himself and Nicola.

"The two of them had made several happy, family plans.

"They had hopes and dreams for their future together, they had hopes and dreams for their children's futures."

She said it is "achingly sad" to realise that the couple's little children will need help in the years to come to remember "the best of what has been taken away from them".

"To remember being helped onto the big shoulders of their Daddy, to get the very best view," she added.

"To remember the strong, sure hands of him, remember the sound of his car arriving outside, and the excitement of rushing to tell him all the things that were just so important, that had happened that day.

"He was a proud, loving family man. He was a hero protecting a frightened woman and her father.

"He laid down his life in order to do what he had sworn to do - he had sworn to be a guardian of the peace."

But he also belonged to the wider brotherhood and family of policing, she added.

Faced with such tragedy, the force is filled with disbelief. "Filled with a need to roll back time and stop it happening," she added.


"We were filled with anger, and then filled with grief so consuming that men and women, newcomers, retired members, and those on the verge of retirement, wept without shame, for a friend and a colleague lost to us," she said.

She referred to the fatal shooting of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, nearly three years ago.

She said Gda Tony Golden's death was the second "friend and colleague lost to us" in a very short space of time.

Recounting conversations she had had with his close Garda colleagues, she told mourners how he was a "team player", with a dutiful approach to his work.

He never sought the limelight, and would be "mortified" by the idea of being at the centre of attention.

But it is now the duty of the force to continue his legacy in serving and protecting our citizens, she added.

Irish Independent

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