Speech by Minister James Browne
Ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan
Saturday, 19 June 2021
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And most importantly, family, friends and colleagues of Colm.
I am honoured to be here with you for this poignant ceremony. On behalf of the Government and myself, I want to express my sincere and deepest condolences to Colm’s father Marty and to all of you.
I know all those who loved Colm still grieve his passing.
Detective Horkan served with distinction for 24 years as a Garda member. Throughout his exemplary service, and as a talented stalwart of his local GAA club, Charlestown Sarsfields, he embodied that grassroots ethos shared by the GAA and the Gardaí – commitment to family, community and country. As the Garda Commissioner said on Thursday, Colm epitomised what all Garda members should aspire to be.
Detective Horkan’s death is an all-too-painful reminder of the personal risks that Garda members take in their everyday duty, putting the welfare of others ahead of themselves, as they work to shield us from harm and to connect our communities.
My thoughts are also with all Garda families whose hearts have broken in solidarity with the Horkan family in their loss. We pay tribute to all of you for your support and sacrifice.
Each of the 89 men on the Garda Roll of Honour died in the service of the State and for the people of Ireland.
I know that our tributes today cannot ease the pain the Horkan family is feeling for their fallen son, brother, cousin and uncle. But I hope they can take some comfort in the obvious respect and admiration for Colm that we have seen today in Castlerea; and in the way that the whole country united with An Garda Síochána last year, with communities everywhere standing in silent tribute with their local Gardaí to honour Colm as he was laid to rest.
As we approach 2022, the centenary of the formation of An Garda Síochána, the dedication that Gardaí have shown in preserving law, order and the security of our country since the foundation of the State cannot be understated. This will be widely recognised and celebrated next year.
Our Garda members have provided an immense and valuable frontline service throughout the most challenging years in the history of the State. Their dedication and loyalty has never faltered and I would like to thank all Gardaí, who currently or have previously served, for their contribution to our country.
Detective Garda Colm Horkan lost his life doing a job that he loved, protecting and serving the community he loved. He represented the very best of An Garda Síochána and the best of us. We continue to grieve for him and will remember his brave life, ended far too soon.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.