Garda paralysed in motorcycle crash had ‘mentality hewn out of rock’

The funeral takes place of retired Garda Colm Cullen who was paralysed in a collision in 1992

Colleagues place a Tricolour on the coffin  of  former Garda   Colm Cullen  at St Paul of the Cross  Church in Mount Argus. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Colleagues place a Tricolour on the coffin of former Garda Colm Cullen at St Paul of the Cross Church in Mount Argus. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A former garda who was paralysed while on duty in 1992 “continued on with a mentality hewn out of rock” and served the force for another 18 years, his funeral Mass has heard.

Several hundred people attended the funeral of retired Garda Colm Cullen who was paralysed below his chest when his Garda motorcycle was in a collision near Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

He continued to work with the Garda Traffic Corps until his retirement in 2010.

The funeral procession was preceded by a Garda motorcycle escort while his coffin, draped in a Tricolour and adorned with his Garda cap, was carried into the church by members of the force. Members of the Garda band played during the Mass.

Among the gifts brought to the altar was the Presidential medal for bravery Garda Cullen received for rescuing a family from a burning building in 1981.

His colleague, retired Garda member Kevin Donohue, said the problems most people had were molehills compared to the Everest Garda Cullen climbed on a daily basis.

“He never once complained, he never once said ‘Why me?’ He never once felt sorry for himself. He continued on with a mentality hewn out of rock.”

As well as being remembered for his “38 years of exemplary service” with the force, Garda Cullen was recalled for his work as a road safety campaigner and his charity work for organisations including Osteoporosis Ireland.

During one of several emotional tributes made at the funeral Mass at St Paul of the Cross Church in Mount Argus, Dublin, his son Darren paid tribute to his father as a “legend” and “an inspiration to everyone who knew him”.

“His strength and courage made him the rock that people leaned on,” he said.

“It’s going to be incredibly hard to say goodbye to my dad but it’s going to be impossible to forget him,” his son Harry said.

Among the many Garda members in attendance were Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey who presented a Tricolour to Mr Cullen’s sons.

Con

celebrated The Mass was led by Garda Chaplain Fr Joe Kennedy and con

celebrated by Fr Ralph Egan. Garda Cullen, who died on Thursday at the age of 61, joined the force in 1973.

In 1992 as he was making his way to the Garda College in Templemore, he was involved in a collision with a car doing a U-turn and was paralysed.

He was the second person in the force’s history to be paralysed while on duty.