Colm Horkan funeral: He ‘never let any of his family or friends walk alone’

They were the simple symbols of an extraordinary life, tokens of a man who touched so many, but was taken too soon.
Colm Horkan funeral: He ‘never let any of his family or friends walk alone’
The coffin of Detective Garda Colm Horkan is carried from St James' church to the cemetery in Charlestown, Co Mayo. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The coffin of Detective Garda Colm Horkan is carried from St James' church to the cemetery in Charlestown, Co Mayo. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

They were the simple symbols of an extraordinary life, tokens of a man who touched so many, but was taken too soon.

As they were placed on the altar, on either side of the coffin, they offered a summary of a life that, in many ways, was hard to summarise.

First and foremost, Colm Horkan was a guard, but he was always a family man, and a good friend who enjoyed music and going to concerts and who loved his local GAA team Charlestown Sarsfields, as well as his fashion.

Garda Tommy Sullivan brought up a notebook to symbolise his “26 years of exemplary service” to the gardaí.

Matthew Horkan brought up the green and white Charlestown Sarsfields GAA jersey that he “always wore with pride”.

Emma and Barbara Horkan brought up his car keys. Mourners heard he “loved his Audi” and that “it shone just like him”.

Cian Casey brought up a CD to symbolise his love of music.

“He was always first in the queue for Ticketmaster,” mourners were told.

Aiden Horkan brought up a photo to symbolise the strong bond Colm had with his family.

And Grainne Marren brought up one of his Tommy Hilfiger shirts.

“He lived for fashion and was always looking his best,” mourners were told.

Finally, a tie pin from his beloved Liverpool was brought up.

Mourners heard: “The Liverpool motto summed him up perfectly: ‘You’ll never walk alone.’ He never let any of his family or friends walk alone.”

ColmHorkan
ColmHorkan

Before the service, gardaí lined the streets of Charlestown as the coffin carrying Colm’s body was carried to St James’s Church — the same church where he had been baptised.

Members of Charlestown Sarsfields GAA club walked in the cortege, wearing their jerseys.

Other members of the community also gathered in large numbers around the church to show support for Mr Horkan’s father Marty, his sister Deirdre, and his brothers Aiden, Brendan, Dermot, and Padraig.

Det Garda Horkan was predeceased by his mother Dolores and twin sister Colette.

The coffin of the detective garda was draped in the Irish flag, with his cap and gloves laid on the top.

Only a limited number of mourners was able to go inside the church due to coronavirus restrictions.

Gardaí planned the event to ensure Det Gda Horkan was afforded formal State honours within the current Covid-19 regulations on public gatherings.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told mourners Det Garda Horkan’s Garda service was marked by his “hard work and diligence”.

“Detective Garda Colm Horkan epitomised what all of us as members of An Garda Síochána should strive to be,” said Mr Harris.

He was approachable, well known, and respected in his local community. In the end, at 12 midnight on Wednesday evening, his service is entirely characterised by his determination and courage in the exercise of his duty to protect this society.

The commissioner told Det Garda Horkan’s family that he would always be remembered within the force.

“The manner of Colm’s death should not eclipse Colm’s life,” he said.

Concluding his remarks to applause, the commissioner said: “I trust that those of us who continue to serve can honour Colm’s legacy in the manner we conduct our duties, in the manner we protect and serve this society and, as Colm did, step forward and be counted at the crucial moment.”

At the close of the service, gardaí gathered around the coffin to remove the Tricolour and fold it.

It was then presented to Mr Harris, who in turn presented it to Mr Horkan’s father.

Six gardaí then lifted the coffin and carried it from the church in a slow march.

A large crowd gathered outside the church to watch as the coffin was taken to a private burial.

Mr Horkan was shot dead late on Wednesday in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, when he intervened in an incident unfolding close to the town’s garda station.

Stephen Silver, aged 43, from Aughaward, Foxford, Co Mayo, was remanded in custody at Castlerea District Court on Friday night, charged with Mr Horkan’s murder.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up