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"Tony Golden's fearlessness and his self-sacrifice led to his loss of life"

Anthony Golden was shot in Omeath, County Louth.


Updated 11.49am

THE GARDA SHOT dead in Louth yesterday was a 36-year-old father of three.

Anthony Golden is believed to have been responding to a 999 call over an alleged domestic abuse when he was shot by a gunman who then took his own life.

A woman shot at the scene is now in a stable condition in hospital.

Originally from Ballina in Mayo, Garda Golden was attached to Omeath Garda Station, having previously been based in Cabinteely in Dublin.

“He was meticulous about how he went about his work,” Superintendent Gerry Curley said today from his station in Dundalk.

He was a quiet unassuming person. A major loss to us all.

He served in An Garda Síochána for 11 years, moving from Dublin to Louth in 2007.

For the past six years, he worked in Omeath, carrying out his duty to a very high standard.

Calling him a “proud family man”, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan added: ”He was held in very high esteem. He served community with dignity, with pride and distinction.”

Sinn Féin councillor Jim Loughran knew him and told that he was a “very good community garda” and “extremely well liked in the area”.

He said Tony was very involved in the community alerts scheme and in the community in general despite the fact he lived outside of the town.

I spoke to his sergeant this morning and they’re just devastated.

On garda numbers being low in the area, he added: “It’s not fair that a garda would have to go to something like this alone.”

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that his death “will be mourned by the entire nation”. She said she was “shocked, saddened and appalled” by his death.

“[Yesterday's] tragic events are a stark reminder of the risks which members of An Garda Síochána face day in day out trying to keep our communities safe.

“I know our communities will stand with An Garda Síochána at this most difficult time for them.

While no words at this time can be expected to console his wife [Nicola] and children, his family, his colleagues and all who loved him, they know that he gave his life in the best traditions of An Garda Síochána protecting the community he was so proud to serve.

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan also said she was “deeply saddened” to hear of a colleague’s death.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, local councillor Richie Culhane, himself a former Garda, extended his condolences to  the Golden family and said that the Louth area was “dangerous” for members of the gardaí.

“It points to the fact that Louth remains a very dangerous place to work for members of An Garda Síochána.

“It also points to the fact that members of An Garda Síochána put themselves in dangerous situations every day.”

Culhane said that the shooting dead of Golden, the 88th Garda killed in the line of duty in the history of the state, would send shockwaves through the force.

“Gardaí will be reeling.

“The force will rally around the family of Anthony Golden.”

Dermot O’Brien from the Garda Representative Association said that today is “a day for mourning.”

Sadly, Tony Golden’s fearlessness and his self-sacrifice and dedication to the people he served led to his loss of life yesterday.

John Jacob from the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors says that the Omeath community is “very close-knit” and will rally around the gardaí.

“This is an incident that could not have been anticipated by the guard. In rural Ireland, gardaí routinely attend calls on their own.

“The gardaí use all these experiences to learn lessons.”

With reporting from Michelle Hennessey in Louth

Read: Investigation underway into fatal shooting of on-duty garda in Louth

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