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Parish priest: Colleagues of Detective Colm Horkan prayed around him after he died

Detective Garda Colm Horkan was shot dead in the early hours of this morning.

Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
Image: Garda Press Office

THE COLLEAGUES OF Detective Garda Colm Horkan prayed around his body as the local priest attended the scene, it has emerged. 

Parish priest John McManus described how he was called shortly after midnight and asked to come down to the scene where Detective Horkan was shot a number times just a few hundred metres from the church in Castlerea, Roscommon. 

The Garda had called for assistance just moments before he was shot dead by his own garda-issued firearm. 

Another squad car which was responding to a different call came upon the scene almost immediately after the shooting.

The officers in the car arrested a man in his 40s and paramedics were then on the scene within several minutes. Unfortunately, they could not save the garda’s life. 

Fr McManus described a “poignant moment” at the scene.

He told “I was called around midnight and it was my job to anoint Colm who had sadly died. There was a poignant moment towards the end. There was this eerie and stunned silence. His colleagues then joined in his final prayers and we remained with him then. 

“Castlerea is a small community: it wouldn’t be used to incidents like these. Yet it is 40 years this year that two gardaí from the station died in the line of duty – Henry Byrne and John Morley.

“We had organised a memorial for them in July so it’s coming back to a lot more senior citizens who would have been around at that time. It’s an incident, a tragedy that has deeply affected the community. We are thinking of his family, friends and garda colleagues and we want to let them know they’re not forgotten.”

Detective Horkan was 49 years old and had been living with his father in Charlestown in Mayo.

He was heavily involved in Charlestown GAA and was a very popular man, whose good nature and love for football was infectious, according to locals who spoke to this website in the town today. 

One man has been arrested in connection with the investigation and is currently being detained in Castlerea Garda Station. 

Speaking in the town this afternoon Garda Commissioner Drew Harris condemned the shooting and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.   

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The 40th anniversary of the shootings of Detective Garda John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne, who were murdered after a bank robbery in Ballaghadreen, will be marked on 7 July this year.           

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