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Republic of Ireland news

'Ireland has lost a hero' - tributes to slain garda

Garda Tony Golden, photographed during the charity Movember initiative, was a father of three young children

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has led tributes to Co Louth Garda Tony Golden whose murder has sparked a shocked reaction across Ireland.

Originally from Co Mayo, the 36-year-old officer, who lived in Blackrock with his wife Nicola and their three young children, was well known in the north Louth region.

He was responding to a domestic incident when he was gunned down in a house in Omeath.

President Higgins expressed sympathy to Garda Golden’s family and friends while Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan said the killing highlighted the “unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Siochana, and the dangers they face every day”.

President of the Garda Representative Association Dermot O’Brien told Newstalk Breakfast: “Tony Golden was a friend, a colleague, he was a brother in blue, Ireland has lost a hero; he laid his life on the line for the community he served.”

Deputy general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectorss (AGSI) John Jacob described events in Omeath as an example of a Garda making “the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty”.

“We are reminded that our colleague left his home to do his job. There are no words to describe the loss felt among the garda family," he said.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton described the killing as “tragic and dark”, adding: “When such events occur, they put much of our daily news and concerns in perspective.”

Louth TD and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said he had been “deeply shocked” by the “horror of it all”, adding that the murdered Garda had been “very well known, liked and respected” in the Cooley Peninsula.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke, the deputy revealed that South Down MLA Caitríona Ruane, who lives in the Cooley region, had regular contact with Garda Golden when she was under threat from dissident republicans.

“He is a great loss to his family, the community and to the garda community,” Mr Adams said.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the public “must stand behind those who stand up for us and display enormous courage, sacrifice and service”.

Tributes were also made by the garda’s Northern Ireland counterparts with PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton tweeting that the north Louth officer had paid “the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty”.

The PSNI also took to Twitter to say the force would “lend any assistance or support required” to gardaí following the tragedy.

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