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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Murdered Garda Tony Golden honoured with medal for 'bravery and great courage'

Tony Golden was shot dead while responding to a domestic incident at a home in Omeath in 2015

Minister Flanagan presents Nicola Golden with an award honouring her husband's bravery.
Minister Flanagan presents Nicola Golden with an award honouring her husband's bravery.
Image: Department of Justice/Twitter

GARDA TONY GOLDEN, who was murdered while responding to a domestic incident in 2015, has been honoured with the highest award that can be conferred on a garda.

At a ceremony today, the bravery of 34 members of the force was recognised by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, who conferred on them the Scott Medal.

Tony’s wife Nicola accepted the award from Flanagan, who paid tribute to Golden’s bravery in carrying out his duties as a member of the force.

“Tony’s generosity and commitment to helping others stand in stark contrast to the manner of his callous and cowardly murder.

In his life and in his work, Garda Tony Golden typified the values that characterise what is best about An Garda Síochána – unstinting commitment to family, community and country.

Others who were awarded medals today include five gardaí who were lured into a booby trapped building in Laois, which Minister Flanagan said was particularly personal to him.

The gardaí were called to a premises in Garryhinch, Portarlington in 1976, responding to an anonymous telephone call which reported a plan to kidnap and kill the Minister’s late father (who at that time was the local TD).

Flanagan said today:

I remember that night as if it were yesterday. I was at home in Mountmellick with my parents and my three sisters when a call was received from the gardaí. My father came into the room and told us that no one was to go out. He did not elaborate but from his demeanour, I knew something was wrong.
At about 11.50pm we were about to go to bed when there was a rap on the door and a number of Gardaí were there. I remember vividly the uniform and plain clothes Gardaí surrounding the house. Some of the Gardaí came in and told my father of the awful events that had unfolded.

“I have never forgotten their courage and selflessness on that fateful night and I feel enormously privileged to be here today, 41 years later as Minister for Justice and Equality, when their bravery and sacrifice is being recognised by the award of a Gold Scott medal.”

The late Garda Michael Clerkin (who died in the bombing), Sergeant James Cannon, Detective Garda Thomas F Peters, Garda Gerry Bohan, Detective Garda Ben Thornton, were all awarded medals today.

History of the medal

The Scott Medal is named after Colonel Walter Scott, an Honorary Commissioner of the New York City Police who, during the 1920s, wanted to help the world’s youngest police force – An Garda Síochána.

He presented to An Garda Síochána a one thousand dollar gold bond, the interest from which would pay, in perpetuity for a Gold Medal.

No action, however heroic, will merit the award of the Scott Medal unless it takes the shape of an act of personal bravery, performed intelligently in the execution of duty as imminent risk to the life of the doer and with full previous knowledge of the risk involved.

Read: Family of Siobhán Phillips plead for help and repeat call for public inquiry into her shooting

Read: After killing of Garda Tony Golden, majority of people think laws on bail are too soft

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