Additional reporting: Eoin English
Garda Headquarters is finalising detailed arrangements for the State funeral of Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
It was announced on Friday evening that the funeral Mass for Det Garda Horkan will take place at St James’s Church, Charlestown, Co Mayo at 12 noon on Sunday, followed by private burial at adjoining cemetery.
Garda managers are trying to accommodate the wishes of thousands of gardaí eager to show their respects while broadly respecting Covid-19 restrictions.
Gardaí plan to hold “virtual local memorials” in stations right across the country in an effort to prevent thousands of gardaí travelling to Charlestown and provide them with a local service to express their sympathies.
Gardaí will hold a minute’s silence at 12 noon on Sunday, to be led by deputy commissioner John Twomey and the Garda Band at Garda Headquarters.
There may also be a live-stream of the funeral Mass and images from local services may also be uploaded as part of the shared ceremony.
With the force swelled by another 2,000 gardaí since then through recruitment, sources said that “in normal circumstances up to 10,000 gardaí” would travel to attend the funeral.
Garda bosses hope that Det Garda Horkan’s State funeral will have “as many of the trappings as possible” given the health restrictions.
Speaking on RTÉ radio on Friday, Charlestown parish priest Fr Tommy Johnston said “tremendous sadness” had enveloped the community.
He said he knew Det Garda’s Horkan’s family, including his father, Marty, a local undertaker, who lived with his son.
Fr Johnston said the garda’s father had told him he was recently in the graveyard and said: “I didn’t think Colm would be going down before me.” He added: “It’s one of the great sadnesses when a parent has to stand at the grave of their child.” Books of condolences are being set up in stations around the country.
It is understood books of condolences have been set up in Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen stations (where Det Garda Horkan had been based for the last 21 years) as well as Charlestown, Longford, Carrick-on-Shannon, and Ballymote.
Garda division Facebook pages have details of where in their area books of condolences are located.
Dublin Lord Mayor Tom Brabazon opened an online book of condolences which will remain available until Tuesday.
Cork City Lord Mayor Joe Kavanagh signed the book of condolences in Anglesea St Garda Station on Friday morning.
Cork County mayor Ian Doyle also expressed condolences, saying it was a “tragic loss” for the family.