Tuesday 25 October 2016

Hero Garda Golden had raised fears about cuts to force before his murder

Slain Garda Tony Golden
Slain Garda Tony Golden

A community group in the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth has released a memo given to them two years ago by Garda Tony Golden, who was shot dead in Dundalk two weeks ago.

In the handwritten document Garda Golden raised a number of concerns about garda cutbacks in the area, and also mentioned his garda colleague Adrian Donohoe - who was shot dead in 2013.


The Cooley Peninsula Community Alert Group approached Garda Golden ahead of a meeting with then Justice Minister Alan Shatter to raise their concerns about a decline in garda numbers as part of government cutbacks and their fears after the murder of Garda Donohoe.

The group still has the original document Garda Golden drew up in response.

Over five pages, Garda Golden highlighted a 14pc drop in manpower from 2009 to 2013; how specialised units were being depleted to supplement regular policing; and how a garda car from his station in Omeath was brought back to Dundalk where there were patrol car shortages.

He also referred to his belief that an increase in overtime hours was only due to the Garda Donohoe murder investigation, and how he did not know if that would be extended into 2014.

Garda Golden said in his memo that Dundalk gardai believed the district was highly dependent on gardai working overtime.

He also said gardai were not able to avail of their total number of annual leave days due to a lack of resources, and that leave was being refused to ensure there were enough force members available to work.

The secretary of the group, Gearoid O'Sullivan, decided to put the documents in the public domain.

"He was trying to aid us to represent him, to advocate for them (the gardai), and that's the pity. It's the gardai on the ground who are looking to see who is advocating for them," he said. The group met Alan Shatter, in April 2014, but he later stepped down and communications were fractured afterwards.

"We don't want any more gardai killed on duty, so it's a big issue for us that their resources increase to a satisfactory amount so that they can cope with what they have to in our area - and every other area," Johnny Larkin, the chairman of the group, told RTE.


Since the death of Garda Golden, two sergeants and 25 gardai have been deployed to the Dundalk District, albeit on a temporary transfer, from stations in Cavan/Monaghan and the Dublin Metropolitan Region North.

Neither the Garda Representatives Association or An Garda Siochana would comment on the memo when asked by the Herald last night.

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