Belfast Telegraph

Garda answering 999 call shot dead by IRA terror suspect

Man believed to be member of the IRA shot officer and woman before turning gun on himself

By Paul Williams and Jim Cusack

A dissident republican terror suspect believed to be from Northern Ireland and out on bail shot dead a garda responding to a domestic incident last night.

The unarmed and uniformed officer murdered in the gun attack was a married father of three.

The officer, Garda Tony Golden, was responding to a 999 call that a woman felt threatened in a domestic incident in the village of Omeath, Co Louth.

She was also seriously injured in the hail of bullets and was being treated in hospital. The gunman - named locally as 24-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin - then turned the handgun on himself, taking his own life.

The killing of the courageous young garda caused widespread shock and revulsion. Tributes were paid to the officer by his superiors and the government.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said she was deeply saddened to hear of the death of her colleague while carrying out his duties.

"At this time my thoughts and prayers and those of the entire Garda service are with his family, friends and colleagues," she said.

"This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Siochana, and the dangers they face every day."

The series of events which led to the shootings unfolded at a house in the Mullach Alainn estate in Omeath, Co Louth, on the Cooley Peninsula around 6pm.

Garda Golden, who was in his 30s and married with young children, was confronted by the gunman, who was armed with a handgun. Mackin, who was on bail for terrorist offences, also shot a young woman before turning the gun on himself.

The injured woman was described as being in a critical condition last night and there were reports that young children may have been in the house at the time.

"She was a really nice girl. She worked in a salon, to feed her kids. She was doing her best," said a local man.

The injured woman had previously reported Mackin to gardai. She had reported an incident to gardai on Saturday which was being investigated.

It is understood that a second incident flared in the house yesterday evening and the woman called gardai to say she was afraid the man would kill her. Her worried relatives had also called the gardai, local sources said. The shooting began shortly after gardai arrived and Garda Golden entered the house.

Garda Golden, who was attached to Omeath station, had over 10 years' service and lived with his family in Blackrock near Dundalk. His three children are all under the age of eight.

Mackin was known to both the PSNI and the Gardai as an active member of the IRA. He had been questioned about terrorist offences several times in the past and was charged with IRA membership before Dublin's Special Criminal Court in January.

The killer had been arrested following a number of searches carried out in Dundalk and Newry as part of a joint garda and PSNI investigation into the activities of dissident republicans.

Mackin was subsequently granted bail in Dublin High Court.

Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the fact that a Garda has laid down his life while protecting the community is a cause of great sadness.

Irish President Michael D Higgins last night said that he had already expressed his deepest sympathies to the Garda Commissioner on the terrible loss of a young member of the force while doing his duty.

Local residents said they were shocked at the murder suicide in quiet picturesque area.

One man who lives opposite the Mullach Alainn estate said: "The village is generally quiet, you could walk up or down the street anytime day or night and it would be rare to see anyone. It is a sleepy place,"

Belfast Telegraph


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