Tributes for "quiet, unassuming" garda

Unassuming: Tony Golden
Unassuming: Tony Golden

Garda Tony Golden was a quiet, unassuming and proud family man who served his community with dignity, pride and distinction, police chiefs said.

The horrific killing of the father-of-three has dealt a devastating blow to close colleagues still reeling from the murder of another officer in the same area less than three years ago.

Superintendent Gerry Curley, Garda Golden's boss in Dundalk, was clearly shaken as he paid tribute to the 36-year-old who joined his ranks after leaving Dublin eight years ago.

"Garda Tony Golden was an excellent member of An Garda Siochana," he said.

"He was meticulous in the way he went about his work. He was a quiet, unassuming person who did his job in a diligent manner.

"He was a credit to An Garda Siochana and he will be a major loss to us all."

Garda Golden, also known for his charity work, had been in the force for 11 years.

Previously stationed in the capital, he moved to Dundalk in 2007 and spent the past six years posted to Omeath on the Irish border where "he carried out his duty to a very high standard", Supt Curley said.

"He was well known and well respected throughout Omeath and throughout the Dundalk area," he added.

"It is a tragic loss for Dundalk district, particularly following on in a short space of time from the death of Adrian Donohoe."

Armed robbers shot dead Detective Garda Donohoe in the village of Lordship, a few miles from Omeath on the Cooley peninsula, on January 25 2013.

Some of the Garda officers who were first on the scene at Garda Golden's murder on Sunday were also among the first responders at the scene of the Garda Donohoe shooting.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said the latest killing has proved "very traumatic" for officers, particularly younger members in the district.

"My thoughts are with the families of all the individuals who are involved in this absolutely horrific and tragic incident," she said.

"But especially our thoughts are with Tony Golden's wife Nicola and his three young children, his parents and his wider extended family."

The police chief said the second Garda killing within three years has "certainly had an impact" on her rank and file as well the local community.

"Speaking to some people here today, I understand and can empathise with the numbness, the shock and the sense of loss they feel," she said.

"But that numbness, the shock and the sense of loss is mostly felt here in this (Garda) district, by Tony's colleagues he had served with in Dublin and right throughout the country and the wider family of An Garda Siochana.

"Tony was very respected and held in very high esteem.

"He lived in the community, he worked in the community and he served the community. He served it with dignity, with pride and with distinction."

Commissioner O'Sullivan added: "He was a very proud family man and his wife Nicola, the loss is unthinkable for her, his parents and the extended family. Our heartfelt support and sympathy goes out to them."

The Garda chief acknowledged the country-wide support and solidarity offered, led by President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

"That sense of solidarity and support is the only small comfort we can bring to Nicola and Tony's parents on a day like today," she added.