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Books of condolences open in Mayo for Det Garda Colm Horkan


Detective Garda Colm Horkan

Edwin McGreal

Books of condolences have opened at Garda stations around the country for people to express messages of sympathy following the killing in the line of duty of Charlestown man, Det Garda Colm Horkan on Wednesday night.
Det Garda Horkan (49) was shot dead in Castlerea on Wednesday after a struggle with a man who seized the detective’s gun.
Books of condolences have opened at Castlebar and Ballina Garda Stations, while Dublin Lord Mayor Tom Brabazon opened an online book of condolences that will remain available until Tuesday.
All online messages of sympathy will be printed and forwarded in book form to the assistant Garda Commissioner in Dublin for passing on to the family of Detective Garda Horkan.
A Garda spokesman advised those intending to sign books of condolences to check with their local garda division on the location of books, but not to breach Covid-19 restrictions.
A State funeral for Garda Horkan is expected to be held next week with Gardaí and the Horkan family working out how such a funeral may best be held under the Covid-19 restrictions.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil in Castlerea last night (Thursday). Garda colleagues joined community leaders for prayers to remember the deceased officer.
One man has been arrested in relation to Det Gda Horkan’s killing. He is currently being detained in Castlerea Garda Station and the investigation is ongoing.

Charlestown in shock
A well-known former Charlestown footballer, news of Colm Horkan’s death has shocked the town.
“He was one of the really good guys. From 8-80, he got on so well with everyone and everyone got on so well with him,” Charlestown Sarsfields GAA Club Chairman Liam Breheny, a first cousin of Colm’s, told The Mayo News.
“He was the elder statesman of a big family and he was like a big brother to me. Colm was the epitome of what a garda should be. He was straight as a die. It has left a huge hole in the town. He was very popular,” he added.
Colm was one of seven children of Marty and the late Dolores Horkan from Ballyglass Road in Charlestown. The family run the popular Dew Drop Inn in the town.
His twin sister Collette died from cancer 15 years ago, while his mother Dolores died 17 years ago. Colm would have turned 50 in December.
A well-known footballer, Colm Horkan was part of the Charlestown team that won Mayo and Connacht senior club titles in 2001, and he was also part of the Charlestown squad and management that claimed a Mayo senior title in 2009.
He played Under-21 championship football for Mayo in three years, 1989, 1990 and 1991.
Det Garda Horkan had been based in Ballaghaderreen in the Castlerea Garda District and had moved to Castlerea itself in recent weeks.
The incident, which has sent shockwaves around the country, comes 40 years after the deaths of Garda John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne, who were both murdered whilst on duty in Roscommon in July 1980.
Colm Horkan is predeceased by his mother, Dolores, and twin sister, Collette, and he is mourned by his father, Marty; brothers, Aidan, Brendan, Dermot and Padraig, and sister, Deirdre; family, neighbours, garda colleagues and a wide circle of friends.