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Castlerea heartbreak at latest tragedy


SHOULDER TO SHOULDER Garda colleagues of Detective Garda Colm Horkan carry his coffin into St James’s Church, Charlestown. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Michael Commins

WELL known Castlerea man Danny Burke says the people of the area are heartbroken at the tragedy that befell the town last week. Danny is synonymous with the GAA in Castlerea and Roscommon over the years as well as with the Castlerea Brass Band.
“I knew Colm Horkan very well through the football. He was an honourable policeman and he carried out his duties in a professional manner,” he told The Mayo News. “This tragedy has brought a lot of memories back to Castlerea because 40 years ago on the seventh of July, we had two very sad tragedies here. Detective Garda John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne, both from Knock, were murdered that day down near Loughglynn.
“John Morley was a great footballer with Mayo and was also involved with our local club here in Castlerea. My mother died suddenly on July 4, 1980 and she was buried on Monday, July 7. John Morley organised the guard of honour for her and Henry Byrne gave her the salute as the hearse was going out to the cemetery.
“Two hours later we were in Tully’s Hotel having a meal after the funeral when we got word that these murders had taken place and it was an awful tragedy. It took Castlerea a long time to get over that and, in actual fact, many in Castlerea never got over it. The seventh of July always comes up and people talk about it because it is imprinted on their minds.
“This tragedy with the murder of Colm Horkan is a sad state of affairs. It is a tragedy for the Horkan family and for members of An Garda Siochána who are very highly respected here in the town of Castlerea and always have been.
“These people put on their uniforms and go out risking their lives to protect us every time they out on a shift, morning or night, and it is a sad day that there are still some people out there in society that still haven’t respect for them.
“We are once again heartbroken with this latest tragedy and I want to extend the heartfelt condolences of the people of Castlerea to the family of Colm Horkan, his friends in Charlestown Sarsfields GAA Club and Mayo GAA and the Garda community at this shocking time for the country at large,” said Danny Burke.