herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Dad heard shots that killed Garda Tony Golden, gunman and left his daughter in critical condition

* Tributes paid to 'hero garda'
* IRA terror suspect shoots garda dead, injures woman
* Gunman had been on bail
* Garda Golden was proud husband and father-of-three
* Locals shocked at 'murder-suicide'

Adrian Crevan Mackin
An ambulance leaves the scene in Omeath where Garda Tony Golden was shot dead after he was called to a domestic dispute
Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead
Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead
Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead

A 'hero garda' and a young woman were shot dead after they entered a home after a complaint about a domestic dispute.

The father of the young woman had accompanied them to the house but waited in a car outside, where he heard the shots.

A press conference on the shooting which left Garda Tony Golden and the gunman dead and the young woman in a critical condition was held this afternoon.

It heard how Garda Tony Golden took a statement from Adrian Crevan Mackin’s partner yesterday, when she went to the garda station with her father to make a complaint about domestic abuse.

Garda Anthony Golden _2.jpg
Garda Tony Golden

An ambulance leaves the scene in Omeath where Garda Tony Golden was shot dead after he was called to a domestic dispute
An ambulance leaves the scene in Omeath where Garda Tony Golden was shot dead after he was called to a domestic dispute

"Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, a female called to Omeath garda station by prior arrangement to make a written statement of complaint in relation to a domestic incident," Superintendent Gerry Curley said at Dundalk Garda Station today.

"Following the taking of the statement of complaint both garda Golden and the female, accompanied by her father, went to her home at 16 Mullach Alainn, Omeath.

"Both Garda Golden and the female entered the house. Her father remained outside.

Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead
Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead

"Shortly afterwards gunshots were heard in the house. Her father immediately raised the alarm and the gardai were contacted by way of 999.

"Gardai and emergency services responded to the scene.

"On entering the house Garda Tony Golden was found with a number of gunshot wounds which proved to be fatal.

Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead
Police close off a road in Omeath, Co Louth after two men, one of whom was a garda, were shot dead

"Another male, who has now been identified as Adrian Crevan Mackin, was found with a fatal gunshot wound.

"The female who had made the complaint was found in the house with a number of serious gunshot wounds.

"She has been removed to hospital and remains in a critical condition," Superintendent Gerry Curley continued.

"A firearm was recovered at the scene. A full investigation is now underway into all aspects surrounding this incident."

The press conference continues with Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan due to speak about the death of Garda Tony Golden.

The unarmed and uniformed officer was murdered in the gun attack when he responded to a 999 call about a domestic incident in Omeath in County Louth last night.

The killing of the courageous married father of three caused widespread shock and revulsion, and Garda Representative Association President Dermot O’Brien described the incident as “cold blooded murder – a despicable act”.

“Tony Golden was a friend, a colleague, he was a brother in blue,” Mr O’Brien told Newstalk Breakfast.

“Ireland has lost a hero; he laid his life on the line for the community he served.

“Tony was a married man with three young children, and yesterday he went to a call and, sadly like all members of An Garda Síochána, his dedication to serve and protect has ended with the tragic loss of his life.”

Mr O’Brien said that questions now needed to be asked about Irish bail laws as it was revealed that the gunman – named locally as Adrian Crevan Mackin (24) – was on bail for terrorist offences when he shot and killed Garda Tony Golden before turning his handgun on himself, taking his own life.

 

Worried

The Herald understands that she reported a previous incident to gardai on Saturday which was being investigated.

It is understood that a second incident flared in the house yesterday evening and the woman called gardai to say she was afraid her partner would kill her. Her worried relatives had also called the gardai.

Mackin had been questioned about terrorist offences on a number of occasions and was charged with IRA membership before the Special Criminal Court in January. He had been arrested following a number of searches carried out in Dundalk and Newry as part of a joint garda and PSNI investigation into the activities of dissident republicans. He was subsequently granted bail in the High Court.

Gda Golden was a highly respected member of the force with more than 10 years’ service. Originally from Co Mayo, he previously served in the Kill O’ the Grange Station in south Dublin and was later transferred to Louth.

The generous garda took part in the ‘Movember’ charity fundraising drive with colleagues in 2012. Locals in Omeath spoke of Garda Golden as a consummate professional.

“He was a gentle giant and an absolute gentleman, and he was very fair,” said postmistress Marie McGuinness. “He was quietly spoken but a great support. I had a few incidents here like armed robberies which were particularly traumatic, but Tony was a rock to me – a fantastic support.

“Tony was the type of man you could go and have a quiet word with if you had any concerns. He was very highly thought of and respected.”

This morning, the road leading up to the Mullach Alainn estate had been re-opened, but the neighbourhood itself remained sealed-off as a technical examination by gardai continued.

A book of condolence was due to be opened this afternoon at the local Dolmen Centre in Omeath. Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan was also due to visit the region during the day. Fr Christy McElwee said the community was trying to come to terms with the terrible tragedy.

“Talking to local people, they are not familiar with this type of incident, they can’t believe that this is happening in their community,” he said.

“The situation is so shocking, especially as it involved a local guard who everybody knows and liked, a fine family man. It’s a very sad story.”

Fr McElwee led prayers for Gda Golden at mass today.

President Michael D Higgins expressed his condolences to Gda Golden’s family and discussed the incident with Commissioner O’Sullivan.

“I have contacted the Commissioner to express my deepest sympathies on this terrible loss of a young member of the force while doing his duty on behalf of the State and all of society,” said Mr Higgins.

Ms O’Sullivan said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my colleague in a fatal shooting incident this evening while carrying out their duties.

“This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Siochana, and the dangers they face every day.”

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald also paid tribute.

“The fact that a garda has laid down his life while protecting the community is a cause of great sadness,” she said.

Grateful

“His death will be mourned by the entire nation, grateful for the service which he gave to it.

“Gardai go out everyday, it takes courage to do their job, going out to face the unknown as they do on a daily basis,” Ms Fitzgerald told RTE Radio this morning.

“My thoughts are with members of Garda Siochana and the challenging job they do.

“The entire country will be thinking about that.”

Responding to the reports that Gda Golden attended the scene of a domestic incident alone, Minister Fitzgerald said: “The reality is gardai around the country go out and do their job everyday under all circumstances.

“The investigation at present is to understand the precise circumstances of the incident.”

The small community of Culleens, Ballina in Co Mayo was left “reeling” this morning as news of Garda Tony Golden’s death spread.

The father-of-three had grown up in the rural area where his parents David and Brid had a small farm.

Tony was one of six children and was recalled as a quiet sports mad student in his hometown today.

Cllr Gerry Ginty,  Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District, said the community was in shock this morning.

“They are a lovely family who were sports mad. Tony was a quiet fella and such a nice young guy. It’s hard to believe that he died like this when he was just doing his job,” he said.

“The whole family were a great GAA family and Tony was just the same. He was a great hurler.

“We are all just devastated for the family, especially his wife and children, his parents and his brothers and sister,” he added.

Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary expressed his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Garda Golden.

“I want to express my deepest sympathies to his wife Nicola, their three children, Tony’s parents and his wider family and friends. The Golden family are highly respected in Ballina. They are rooted in the community and through local sporting and community endeavours they have earned the respect and admiration of many people,” he said.

He added that the entire community stood with Garda Golden’s loved one and colleagues and “will continue to show our support in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

“I also want to take this opportunity to express my sadness at the loss of a Garda serving in the line of duty.  It reminds us that members of An Garda Siochána display courage and bravery every day.  Following on from the enormous tragedy in south Dublin as the weekend I think it is fair to say our emergency services have endured a harrowing weekend.  They deserve our continued and steadfast admiration and support,” he added.

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