Mediation talks will take place this Friday in a bid to agree a State compensation settlement for the family of Garda Tony Golden, fatally wounded in a murder-suicide attack while on duty in Omeath more than four years ago.
Eamonn MJ Coffey, counsel for Garda Golden’s widow, Nicola, and the couple’s three young children, told Mr Justice Michael Twomey in the High Court today that a mediator had been agreed and settlement talks were set to begin at 11am in Dundalk.
Mr Coffey said that if the mediation was successful the court would still have to approve the details on behalf of the three Golden children, Andrew, Lucy and Alex, who reside with their mother in Blackrock, Co Louth.
The outcome of the talks will be mentioned before Judge Twomey next Monday. The judge was told that in the event of failure the hearing to decide damages under the Garda Compensation Acts would take at least three days and possibly a full week.
Judge Twomey said a hearing date of Monday February 10 had been listed provisionally but he would be on circuit at that time and a damages trial may be necessary before another judge.
Micheal O’Scanaill SC, who appears with barrister Joseph O’Sullivan for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said it was important any trial would minimise stress on the family and should not be drawn out over successive Mondays, the scheduled day for garda compensation applications to be dealt with.
Ms Golden had been a State nurse with the HSE at the time of her husband’s murder and had not worked since the shooting which took place on October 11 2015. Garda Golden was aged 36 when, in uniform and unarmed, he responded to a domestic violence complaint in Omeath.
He had accompanied Siobhan Philips (23) to the house she shared with her physically abusive partner Adrian Crevan Mackin, a known dissident Republican who was on bail on charges of IRA membership at the time. Mackin shot Garda Golden five times and Ms Philips four times, including one bullet to her head, before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
Ms Philips, who survived her injuries, is living in Co Down. She had two children by Mackin and issued personal injury proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General on her own and their behalf, alleging negligence.
Talks to settle the compensation claims by Ms Golden and her children have already broken down once.