herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Similarities with Golden and Donohoe killings are truly chilling

Gardai at the estate entrance at the scene of the fatal shooting involving Garda Tony Golden at Mullach Alainn housing estate in Omeath Co Louth.
Gardai at the estate entrance at the scene of the fatal shooting involving Garda Tony Golden at Mullach Alainn housing estate in Omeath Co Louth.

Tony Golden was "a soft spoken gentleman", and "a lovely man", who carried out his work without fuss.

He had commanded the respect of the community and if you turned up at the counter in the station, you would be sure of his full attention.

He was popular, involved with the local boxing club, and was well-liked.

The similarities with Detective Adrian Donohoe were already striking.

Now that it has emerged that the two men had worked together on the transit of money from credit unions in Co Louth on the day that Adrian was executed in cold blood, less than three years ago, the similarities are chilling.

Adrian had taken over from Tony during the routine journey to escort the money to Dundalk.

Both men, bound by a terrible fate, were killed with no mercy as they faithfully carried out their everyday duties.

In the days before he was gunned down in cold blood at an apparent domestic violence incident, Tony Golden had spent time thinking of his life.

The slaying of Detective Adrian Donohoe had been weighing heavily on his mind and he had a long conversation with Sheila Mullanney, the wife of retired sergeant Michael Mullanney.

The couple still live next door to the garda station in Omeath, as they have done for the past 48 years.

Tony was part of the garda convoy escorting money from credit unions on the day that Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was fatally shot down - and Adrian had taken over from him, Sheila Mullanney recalled yesterday.

loss

"Tony was very upset by Adrian's death and we talked about life and death and the loss he was to the community," she said.

Little had he known that just a week after the chat, his own death would plunge his family and his community into the same agonising loss.

"Everyone knew him," said a local woman, who turned up at the garda station with her daughter and three grandchildren, carrying bags of fruit and rolls of kitchen paper.

All are rallying around the colleagues of the latest officer to lose his life on service.

Earlier, other women had arrived with pots of homemade soup and brown bread.

Bouquets of flowers were laid on the steps of the station along with a candle, while a Book of Condolence had been opened inside.

A closer examination showed broken egg shells still firmly stuck to the front wall of the station - a sign of a puerile and recent minor attack on the station by those who lacked respect.

At 5pm, Commissioner Noreen O'Sullivan arrived to inspect the scene before going to the station and confirmed that she had paid a visit to the Golden family, saying: "There were no words" to describe how they feel.

Garda members are "very shocked and very hurt and very saddened".

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