Ballaghaderreen stood in silent tribute this afternoon as the remains of the late Garda Colm Horkan were brought through the town on route to Charlestown.
The cortege, flanked by a number of Gardai on motorcycles, stopped for a couple of moments outside Ballaghaderreen Garda Station before moving through the town. The streets were lined with people who clapped as the hearse made its way to the Charlestown road.
Garda Horkan had spent a number of years in Ballaghaderreen before moving to Castlerea.
Gardai who were stationed with the 49-year-old formed a guard of honour for the Garda who has been described “as an absolute gentleman”.
Also this afternoon Boyle Municipal District observed a minute’s silence in memory of the late Detective Horkan.
Outgoing Chairman Cllr Joe Murphy said the late Detective Garda served an area that stretched from Ballaghaderreen to Tarmonbarry. He described his death as “a huge tragedy for Castlerea” and expressed his sympathies to the deceased’s family.
“The Garda force is so important in rural areas,” said Cllr. Murphy before condemning some of the coverage of Detective Garda Horkan’s death, on social media. “While there’s a flood of sympathy, at times like this Social Media and parts of it are not good,” he observed.
“Sometimes the language used tips into incitement and hatred. It has to be remembered our Garda force are very important.” Cllr Murphy’s comments were echoed by party colleague, Cllr John Cummins, who said the Castlerea Garda District straddled much of the Boyle Municipal area.
“Detective Garda Horkan I’m sure would have served in this town (of Boyle). It’s absolutely appalling this should happen in a civilised society and harder still that this should happen in Castlerea,” Cllr Cummins remarked.
“History is repeating itself. People should be concentrating on the positives on Social Media,” said Cllr. Cummins before extending his condolences to the communities of Castlerea and Charlestown.
Cllr Tom Crosby said the death of Detective Horkan “was a huge trauma to the whole community of Castlerea. The Gardaí are so important – we all rely on them in time of need,” said Cllr Crosby, a former chairman and incoming chairman of the county’s Joint Policing Committee -JPC-.
“We need to set up that committee in solidarity with Gardaí. I lived in Castlerea at the time both Gardaí John Morley and Henry Byrne lost their lives. To see that repeating itself is unbelievable.”
Cllr Michael Mulligan said the late Colm Horkan served in Ballaghaderreen for fourteen years describing him as “nothing but a gentleman – he never got excited. I know his father and I knew his late sister – they had a pub in Charlestown called the Dew Drop Inn. The family are very well respected.
“Colm Horkan was a true Garda. He did his job without fear or failure. It is so sad. Some of the reports on Social Media leave a lot to be desired. There is another family involved in this and they are grieving too. You don’t want to build up any hatred either,” Cllr Mulligan said.
Cllr. Valerie Byrne said the death of Colm Horkan was “heart breaking for both sides – a man was shot down doing his job. The comments on Social Media and the way Gardaí were treated during the Covid-19 lockdown was shocking.
“A man has lost his life and all we can do is pray for his family. I remember coming from Limerick at the time Garda Henry Byrne and John Morley were shot. Garda Horkan was an excellent Garda who had progressed to being a Detective.”
Cllr Liam Callaghan described Detective Sergeant Horkan as “a man of huge dignity, a great sportsman and a great community man” adding: “this was a random act. It was outlandish what has happened. To all Gardaí, I send my deepest sympathy.”
On behalf of Roscommon County Council, Director of Services Shane Tiernan extended his sympathies to Detective Garda Horkan’s family and friends, remarking “there has been a strong co-operation between Roscommon County Council and the Gardaí, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. This affects us all.”
Representatives of Eirgrid, led by their representative Aidan Corcoran who made a presentation to members on North Connacht 110 KV project, also expressed his sympathies to the community and the family of the late Detective Garda Colm Horkan.