Dáil pays tribute to 'loyal friend' and 'brave colleague' Colm Horkan

Dáil pays tribute to 'loyal friend' and 'brave colleague' Colm Horkan
Detective Garda Colm Horkan

The death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan is "an all-too-painful reminder of the personal risks that Garda members take", the Dáil has heard.

The chamber took time this morning for statements of sympathy to be placed on the record, with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan leading the tributes.

Mr Flanagan said that Garda Horkan's death was a reminder of the dangers of the job, with 89 gardaí now having lost their lives in the line of duty.

"Detective Horkan’s death is an all-too-painful reminder of the personal risks that Garda members take, while working to keep us safe. 

The women and men of An Garda Síochána, in their everyday duty, put the welfare of others ahead of themselves, as they work to shield us from harm and to connect our communities.

"While grounded in our communities, they courageously take on the burden of standing between us and danger. It is to them that we turn in times of crisis, including during the current pandemic."

Roscommon TD Denis Naughten said that June in Castlerea would usually be "ball-hopping month - Connaught football month".

Dáil pays tribute to 'loyal friend' and 'brave colleague' Colm Horkan
The coffin of Detective Garda Colm Horkan is carried from St James' church to the cemetery in Charlestown, Co Mayo. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

"This year, there is no football banter. Every member of An Garda Síochána is doing their bit for people cocooning in an area of rural Ireland where people are physically and socially isolated at the best of times.

"This year in Castlerea the football banter was replaced by the shocked silence which reverberated across this country, in fact across the globe.

From all over the world, Roscommon people have contacted me and behalf of the people of county Roscommon, I want to say - thank you, Colm. Not for doing your job, but the way in which you did it.

The Labour Party's Ged Nash said Det Garda Horkan was "an integral part of his community and the first to put up his hand when something needed to be done", while Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan said that the country can "gain some courage" from the "outpouring of grief across the country".

Mr O'Callaghan said this showed the high regard in which An Garda Síochána is held.

Dáil pays tribute to 'loyal friend' and 'brave colleague' Colm Horkan
The remains of Detective Garda Colm Horkan. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Sinn Féin's Martin Kenny said that "the people of that (Roscommon and Mayo) have lost a loyal friend, the Garda has lost a brave colleague and their immense pain is unimaginable The Justice Minister said that he was aware that the statements would not ease the pain felt by the Horkan family, but he hoped that the high regard in which he was held would bring them some comfort.

"I know that our statements today cannot ease the pain the Horkan family is feeling for their fallen son, brother, cousin and uncle. But I hope they can take some comfort in the obvious respect and admiration for Colm that we saw in Charlestown on Sunday; and in the way that the whole country united with An Garda Síochána, with communities everywhere standing in silent tribute with their local Gardaí, to honour Colm as he was laid to rest."

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