Sportsman, guard, music lover: Who was Detective Garda Colm Horkan?

Sportsman, guard, music lover: Who was Detective Garda Colm Horkan?
Detective Garda Colm Horkan

Detective Garda Colm Horkan was a music-loving sports fan who had a wide circle of friends in Mayo where he lived and Roscommon where he worked.

A former sportsman, he had been in the gardaí for 24 years.

Up until the Covid-19 crisis broke, he had been based in Ballaghaderreen in the Castlerea Garda District, Co Roscommon.

But just weeks ago, he transferred to Castlerea.

He grew up and lived in Charlestown, Co Mayo.

One of seven children, Aidan, Brendan, Dermot and Padraig and sisters Deirdre and Collette, his mother Dolores died suddenly in 2001, and Collette - who was his twin - died from cancer 15 years ago.

His father Marty, who he lived with, runs a taxi firm, his brother is a funeral director and the family also run Charlestown’s Dew Drop Inn - one of a number of pubs associated with Colm’s family.

Another was Mooney’s bar in Brooklyn, which his uncle Kevin had run before his death in 2011.

The celebrated Irish pub was immortalized in Sidney Lumet’s 2007 movie, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, which starred Albert Finney and Philip Seymore Hoffman.

Colm had been part of the Charlestown team that claimed Mayo and Connacht senior club titles in 2001.

The 49-year-old, who would have been 50 in December, had also been part of both the Charlestown squad and management that won a Mayo senior title in 2009.

Colm, nicknamed “The Bear”, had also played Under-21 championship football for Mayo in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Earlier this year, he had readily accepted a challenge to take part in the Charlestown 5K Challenge, which he later described as “an excuse for a Sunday afternoon walk/jog”

Last August Colm presented the winners' cup at the inaugural Dolores Horkan Memorial Shield Tournament.

The minors tournament, which runs annually at Charlestown Sarsfields GAA club, was named after Colm’s mother, Dolores who had been a huge fan of Gaelic football.

As well as helping raise funds for Charlestown Sarsfields GAA, he also helped raise money for The Mater Foundation and for mental health charities.

In April, he said of people who died from suicides in a Facebook post: “Too many already have been taken way too soon!

“We can’t keep letting this slip by us. Be strong, be there for each other and please never be afraid to speak up or try and reach out to anyone, even myself!

All too often, some men find it easier to criticize each other or themselves instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around, let's do something positive!! Let's spread some positivity.

Colm occasionally posted articles about the gardaí on Facebook and Twitter.

In January 2018, he retweeted a statement by the Garda Representative Association about the “indisputable case for providing frontline Gardaí with Tasers and speedy access to armed backup”.

Last October, he posted a link to a story about a call that people who assault gardaí “should . . . get the full rigours of the law”.

He also occasionally changed his social media profile images and replaced them with either one of either the An Garda Síochána crest covered in a black ribbon or a thin blue line against a black background.

He did this for a number of garda colleagues, including Garda Adrian Donohoe, who was shot in 2013 and Garda Tony Golden, who was shot in 2015.

One of the posts he put up on Facebook after Garda Golden's death read: "And maybe remind the few if ill of us they speak, that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak."

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