28th March 2018
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., has laid before the Oireachtas a report setting out the outcome of a review by the Garda authorities of events leading up to the murder of Garda Tony Golden and the shooting of Ms. Siobhan Phillips on 11 October 2015.
Minister Flanagan stated:
“The murder of Garda Tony Golden at Omeath in October 2015 was a tragic loss for his family and his colleagues. We should never forget that Garda Golden was a brave man who gave his life doing his duty as a Garda and serving his fellow citizens.
“I understand the review undertaken was done so with great sensitivity and involved a complex piece of work. I am appealing for continued sensitivity for those who have suffered greatly as a result of these events, especially the widow and children of Garda Golden and his wider family and Ms. Phillips and her family members. My deepest sympathies are with them.”
The Minister added:
“The shooting of Garda Golden and Ms. Phillips was an abhorrent crime.
“Ms. Phillips is a young woman who has suffered great trauma and serious injuries as a result of the events of that day.
The Golden family have lost a dearly loved husband, father, brother and son. Garda Golden died selflessly doing his duty in seeking to protect the members of the community he served.
“This review has identified that the actions of Garda Golden were beyond reproach.”
The Minister also indicated that, in terms of the separate review undertaken by Assistant Commissioner Eugene Corcoran, it is important to note that certain allegations in respect of the murder of Garda Golden are currently being examined by GSOC in two investigations. These investigations have been ongoing since April 2017.
The Minister stated:
“Conscious of the gravity of this matter and the concerns expressed by the family of Ms. Siobhan Phillips, as well as by local public representatives, I have taken the decision in the public interest to publish this report. The report is subject to a number of minor redactions for necessary legal and security reasons. I have been assured by GSOC that the publication of this report will not have any adverse impact on the independent investigations underway and we should not prejudge the outcome of those investigations.”
The Minister noted that, while the report highlighted that the two incidents were not recorded in accordance with relevant policy and procedures, it does not appear that the classification of the incidents was a causative factor in these tragic events on the night of the shootings. In responding to concerns relating to the recording and classification of crime statistics the Minister stated:
“Ensuring that we have robust crime data is a very important element in effectively preventing and responding to all forms of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. As the CSO stated earlier today, there is ongoing engagement between it, An Garda Síochána and other crime statistics users, including my Department and the Policing Authority, in relation to the issues that need to be resolved to ensure our crime data is robust and corresponds to international best practice. These difficulties are not unique to Ireland but it is essential that matters are fully resolved as soon as possible.”
The Minister further noted the recent measures being taken which are designed to improve the manner in which An Garda Síochána deals with victims of domestic abuse and welcomed the increased focus by An Garda Síochána on vulnerable victims of crimes against the person, including where the incidents of criminality occur in a domestic setting.
The Minister said:
“Tackling domestic violence is an essential priority for the Government. New legislation strengthening protections for victims is currently before the Oireachtas and a multimillion Euro domestic violence awareness campaign is underway.
“I welcome the measures taken by An Garda Síochána to improve their responses to domestic violence cases and in particular I welcome the introduction of the ‘Revised Policy of An Garda Síochána on Domestic Violence Intervention’.”
Important progress has been made in recent years including the establishment of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau led by a Chief Superintendent, as well as a nationwide network of Garda Victim Services Offices with dedicated staff in each of the 28 Garda Divisions. The Bureau is tasked with improving services to victims, improving the investigation of sexual and domestic violence incidents, and identifying and managing risk.
As a further measure to ensure that victims are placed at the heart of Garda service, Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSUs) will also be established in each Garda Division. This has already been rolled out on a phased basis starting with 3 Divisions - Louth, Dublin Metropolitan Region West and Cork City. The next phase of DPSUs have provisionally been identified and will be launched in the coming months.
Notes for Editors
The report is available on the Oireachtas website here: http://opac.oireachtas.ie/AWData/Library3/JUQdoclaid270318_181509.pdf