‘Absolutely devastating’: Tributes paid after death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in Roscommon shooting

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“Our thoughts today are with all those grieving as a result of this tragic incident,” said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Updated Thu 8:58 AM

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has paid tribute this morning to Detective Garda Colm Horkan who died after being shot in Castlerea, Co Roscommon overnight. 

Det Garda Horkan died following an incident in Castlerea which happened shortly before midnight. He was on duty at the time. 

It is believed that his official firearm was taken from him during the incident and he was shot with it. 

Paying tribute today, the Taoiseach extended his deepest sympathies to Det Garda Horkan’s family and friends of the Garda.

“Every day our Gardaí put themselves on the frontline of crime prevention, on behalf of all of us. This requires regular acts of bravery and courage. Sometimes the outcome is tragic and a Garda makes the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties,” said Varadkar. 

“Our thoughts today are with all those grieving as a result of this tragic incident,” he said. 

Garda Representative Association president Jim Mulligan paid tribute to Det Garda Horkan and extended sympathies to his family. 

Mulligan said Horkan was as an “experienced detective greatly respected by colleagues”. 

He is survived by his father, sister and four brothers. 

President Michael D Higgins said Det Garda Horkan’s death in Castlerea comes “as a shock to us all”. 

“As President of Ireland I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the Garda, and to all those who have been affected by this tragedy.

An Garda Síochána play a crucial role in our communities and this loss of life is traumatic for our society as a whole.

“I have contacted the Garda Commissioner to express my deepest sympathies on this terrible loss of a member of the Force,” said Higgins. 

In a statement this morning, Minister for Justice & Equality Charlie Flanagan said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened at the shooting of a Garda member in Roscommon last night and a full murder investigation is underway. 

“The brave Detective Garda who died last night died in the line of duty, serving and protecting the community,” said Flanagan.

“His death will cause untold heartbreak to his family, loved ones and all his colleagues in An Garda Síochána across the whole country. It is also a loss to wider Irish society. His heroism and the debt of gratitude which we owe to him and his family will never be forgotten.”

‘Huge shock’

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, TD for Roscommon Galway Denis Naughten, said Det Garda Horkan’s death was “absolutely devastating”. 

Naughten said the reaction to the shooting locally is “one of huge shock”.

“The community in Castlerea would work very closely on an ongoing basis with Gardaí and particularly over the last number of weeks” due to Covid-19, he said. 

“This is a huge shock to the community as a whole, to the Garda force throughout the Roscommon-Longford Garda division which would be a close-knit Garda force here. Everyone knows everyone, it is a rural division,” said Naughten. 

“It is a huge blow to the force, to the community and, of course, particularly to the Garda’s family,” he said. 

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Local Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane, meanwhile, said the incident was a “truly shocking incident”.

“This is a truly terrible incident and has caused major shock amongst the entire community in Castlerea and the wider region,” said Kerrane.

“My thoughts are with the Garda’s family and colleagues at this very difficult time. I hope that whoever is responsible is speedily brought to justice,” the TD said. 

In a statement this morning, The Policing Authority’s Karen Shelley said: “The killing of a Garda, as well as being a wilful denial of the right to life, is an attack on the essence and the foundations of our democracy.”

“It is a fundamental assault on the principle of equality. In the midst of exemplary service to the community during the health emergency, the Garda Síochána will mourn the death of a colleague,” said Shelley. 

In a statement this morning, An Garda Síochana said one man has been arrested in connection with the investigation and is currently detained in Castlerea Garda Station. 

An Garda Síochana has asked for privacy for Det Garda Horkan’s family at this time. 

“It is with deepest sadness An Garda Siochána confirms the death of our colleague, resulting from fatal gunshot wounds received during an incident in Castlerea shortly before midnight,” a statement from An Garda Siochána said. 

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Main Street, Castlerea, Co Roscommon

Main Street, Castlerea, Co Roscommon

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