Det Garda Colm Horkan’s family grateful for ‘outstanding’ support

‘I never knew he had done so much for people until he died,’ says slain officer’s father

Det Garda Colm Horkan who was shot dead while responding to an incident in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. His father characterised him as ‘something special’.

Det Garda Colm Horkan who was shot dead while responding to an incident in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. His father characterised him as ‘something special’.

 

The family of late Det Garda Colm Horkan has thanked the public for their outpouring of support in the wake of his death, adding that people have been “outstanding”.

Det Garda Horkan (49) died on June 17th when he was shot while responding to an incident in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. Stephen Silver (43), of Aughaward, Foxford, Co Mayo, was later charged with his murder.

Dermot Horkan, a brother of the late detective garda, said the last few weeks have been “very tough” for the family.

Garda HQ, Phoenix Park, Dublin, where the State funeral for Det Garda Colm Horkan was marked. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.
Garda HQ, Phoenix Park, Dublin, where the State funeral for Det Garda Colm Horkan was marked. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

“It’s been made a lot easier by the likes of the public and the gardaí have been brilliant for us and our neighbours and friends at home in Charlestown. The support we have had has been phenomenal. As a family, we’re very grateful for that and it means so much,” Mr Horkan told RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime.

“Everyone spoke so highly of Colm and it just meant so much to us and to Dad. And we’re very grateful and thankful for that.”

Mr Horkan said public support has continued in the weeks following his brother’s death.

“The cards are coming through the door still every day. Dad still opens everyone of them and he gets great consolation from that . . . We just can’t thank people enough for that. They’ve been outstanding,” he added.

Marty Horkan, the dead garda’s father, also thanked the local communities who have reached out to the family in recent weeks.

“We’re very thankful to the gardaí in particular and the wonderful support they have shown to us. And also the GAA . . . football club and indeed football clubs all around us and our own neighbours above all who have been so wonderful to us,” he said.

“We miss Colm, we do. He lived at home with me and I’m going to miss him anyway, that’s for sure. He was something special, and that has been brought home to us in the last few weeks. I never knew he had done so much for people until he died.”

The Horkan family were speaking at a commemoration ceremony for Garda Henry Byrne and Detective Garda John Morley who died in the line of duty forty 40 years ago in Loughglynn, Co Roscommon.

Det Garda John Morley (left) and Garda Henry Byrne who died in the line of duty 40 years ago on July 7th, 1980.
Det Garda John Morley (left) and Garda Henry Byrne who died in the line of duty 40 years ago on July 7th, 1980.

Morley and Byrne died on July 7th, 1980, after intercepting armed bank raiders at Shannon’s Cross, just outside the village of Loughglynn in west Roscommon.

Both were married with young families. Morley (37) had been a well-known Gaelic footballer and Byrne’s grandfather was among the 15 visionaries who witnessed the apparition in Knock, the Mayo parish from where he and Morley hailed.

Byrne (29) was killed instantly after one of the raiders opened fire when the Garda and getaway cars collided at Shannon’s Cross. Morley exchanged fire, but was wounded fatally.