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Murdered hero Garda Tony Golden wrote report on how cutbacks hit the police force

Published 26/10/2015

The funeral procession of Garda Tony Golden passes through Blackrock village on its way to St Oliver Plunkett Church, Blackrock in Co Louth, for his state funeral. Pic Niall Carson/PA Wire
The funeral procession of Garda Tony Golden passes through Blackrock village on its way to St Oliver Plunkett Church, Blackrock in Co Louth, for his state funeral. Pic Niall Carson/PA Wire

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

In the handwritten document Gda 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 Gda Golden ahead of a meeting with then-Justice Minister Alan Shatter to raise concerns about a decline in Garda numbers as part of government cutbacks, and fears after the murder of Det Gda Donohoe.

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

Over five pages, Gda Golden highlighted a 14pc drop in Garda manpower in the area between 2009 to 2013.

He also wrote 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 Garda ­overtime hours was only due to the investigation into the murder of Det Gda Donohoe during a foiled raid at a credit union, and how he did not know if that overtime would be extended into 2014.

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

He also said gardaí 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 members of the force available to work.

Secretary of the community alert group, Gearóid O'Sullivan, decided to put the document in the public domain.

"He was trying to aid us to represent him, to advocate for them (the gardaí), and that's the pity.

"It's the gardaí on the ground who are looking (to see) who is advocating for them," he said.

The group met the then-­Justice Minister Alan Shatter in April 2014, but he later stepped down and communications were fractured afterwards.

"We don't want any more ­gardaí killed on duty, so it is a big issue for us that their resources are increased to the satisfactory amount that they can cope with what they have to cope with in our area and every other area," Johnny ­Larkin, the chairman of the Cooley ­Peninsula group, told RTÉ.

Since the death of Gda ­Golden, two sergeants and 25 gardaí 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 nor An Garda Síochána would comment on the memo when asked by the Irish Independent last night.

Conor Feehan, Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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