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'Rock solid and gentleman' - a silent tribute for slain Colm

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Gardai at Finglas Garda Station pay their respects to Colm Horkan during a minute’s silence. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Gardai at Finglas Garda Station pay their respects to Colm Horkan during a minute’s silence. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Gardai at Finglas Garda Station pay their respects to Colm Horkan during a minute’s silence. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The country fell quiet at noon yesterday in honour of Detective Garda Colm Horkan as his funeral began in his native Charlestown, Co Mayo.

A minute's silence was observed at garda stations and in homes as the funeral at St James's Church was held amid Covid-19 restrictions that meant many who wanted to go could not attend.

Det Gda Horkan served four years at Finglas Garda Station, and serving and retired gardai also had other members on their minds as they reflected on his untimely death.

Det Gda Horkan served in the same unit at Finglas as two other gardai who died on duty, Garreth Harmon (28) and student garda Conor Griffin (25).

Suspicious

They were killed when the unmarked car in which they were travelling crashed while responding to a request for assistance from a patrol car pursuing a vehicle on May 15, 2000.

The two men were at Finglas station when a patrol car attached to Santry called to say a suspicious vehicle was nearing Finglas. They used the unmarked car to respond but it crashed into a pole.

Inspector Andy Tuite led the parade in honour of Gda Horkan, and called the minute's silence on the road outside the station as gardai flanked it on both sides.

Members of Dublin Fire Brigade and the public also attended to pay their respects and support Finglas gardai.

The tricolour hung at half mast during the short and dignified ceremony.

One retired garda who knew Colm and served with him at Finglas said he was "a solid man from a young age".

"I've read all about him this last few days, and it's obvious he didn't change as he got older. The things that are being said about him now could have been said back then in the late 1990s too," he said.

"He was rock solid, a gentleman and an excellent garda."

Meanwhile, the deaths of gardai Adrian Donohoe and Tony Golden were recalled to those who gathered outside Dundalk Garda Station to pay their respects to Det Gda Horkan.

Garda Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan, Louth Division, told how gardai there, and specifically in Dundalk, could relate to the pain of loss felt in Roscommon and Mayo.

"The funeral of Det Gda Colm Horkan brings back those most vivid memories from 2015 and 2013 when we tried to comprehend the sudden and senseless loss of Tony and Adrian," he said.

Bond

"Unfortunately, we are all too familiar of the dangers that we as members of An Garda Siochana face every time we take up duty in order to protect and serve.

"The tributes paid to Colm reflect the feelings of the country and the strong bond between An Garda Siochana and the community we are proud to serve."