Force 'devastated' after Garda killed in Co Roscommon shooting

A man has been arrested in connection with the death and is currently being held at Castlerea Garda Station.
Force 'devastated' after Garda killed in Co Roscommon shooting

A member of An Garda Síochána was killed last night after a shooting incident in Co Roscommon just before midnight.

A man has been arrested in connection with the death and is currently being held at Castlerea Garda Station.

"It is with deepest sadness An Garda Síochána confirms the death of our colleague, resulting from fatal gunshot wounds received during an incident in Castlerea shortly before midnight on Wednesday 17th June 2020," a garda spokesperson said.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, AGSI General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham added: "We are all very devastated. It is absolutely devastating news.

“There is somebody in custody, so we have to be very careful of what we say.

But a Garda has lost his life in an incident on duty and that is all we can think about this morning.

"Our thoughts go to his family and friends and colleagues in Roscommon at this time.

“I spoke to the chief superintendent up there this morning and they are all absolutely devastated at his loss.

"It's very, very tough."

'Shocked and sad'

Local TD Frank Feighan expressed his horror at the shooting saying people in the town are “shocked and sad” this morning.

“This man was killed in the line of duty, shielding us from harm and protecting the vulnerable and it is a terrible price to pay,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of this garda and his brave garda colleagues and friends.

Mr Feighan pointed out that the killing comes just short of 40 years after two gardaí were shot dead in the nearby village of Lough Glynn.

“Gardaí are of the community. They protect the community and we owe a huge debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and it is so sad that a young man is taken down in this manner.

“It is just a huge tragedy and again a huge shock in this area.”

Independent TD for Roscommon Denis Naughten has described the shooting of a detective garda in Castlerea as devastating news for the area.

He had been shocked and saddened to hear of the shooting of a member of an Garda Siochana who had been doing his duty in the local community.

“This is devastating news for his family, for his fellow gardaí and the community,” Mr Naughten told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Castlerea is a large garda district, he explained, covering a large rural area. Local gardaí had been working closely with the community during the Covid-19 crisis checking on individuals who lived in isolated areas.

There was a lot of ongoing contact between gardaí and the community and the garda who died was known widely in the community. “Everyone knows everyone in a rural district.”

Mr Naughten said he had been in contact with the garda’s colleagues all of whom were shocked. He pointed out that this was the 89th garda death in the line of duty in the history of the force.

“This is a huge blow to the force, to the community and to his family.”

The parish priest in Castlerea, Fr John McManus has told of the poignant scene when he performed the last rites on the detective garda who had been shot.

Fr McManus had received the call just after midnight to attend at the scene which was close to the church.

“You’re never sure what the next phone call will be, when you get a call from the gardaí you never know what you face, little did I know that it was one of their own,” Fr McManus told Morning Ireland.

Colleagues of the shot garda detective were “so professional” at the scene and it had been “so poignant,” he said. “They were literally praying with me.”

- Updated at 7.49am and 9.07am

- Additional reporting Joel Slattery and Vivienne Clarke

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