The tragic death of Garda Golden is a harsh lesson that must be heeded
Sporting euphoria was rampant last weekend, as our national teams played on the world stage with distinction. But national pride was eclipsed by two separate tragic incidents back home.
The first was an appalling fire that claimed the lives of members of the Travelling community, including five children, housed in a temporary halting site in south Dublin. The second, which happened when we were reeling from the first, was the murder of 36-year-old Garda Tony Golden in Omeath, Co Louth, by dissident republican Adrian Crevan Mackin.
The murder of a member of the Garda Síochána on duty is the gravest of crimes. Some 88 members of the force have died while on duty, many of them, like Garda Golden, victims of violent subversives. Indeed, the Garda Síochána were the front line in the State's defence against republican subversion and criminality over the four decades of the Troubles. And the force remains engaged in countering and monitoring dissident republicans who have rejected the political settlement of the Good Friday Agreement. Members of these groups are well known to gardaí and the PSNI and to their credit, joint operations and sharing of intelligence have foiled terrorist attacks north and south of the border over recent times.