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line of duty Detective Garda Colm Horkan is among 89 gardaí honoured at memorial event

Garda Horkan was shot dead in the line of duty in Castlerea, County Roscommon, on June 17 last year.

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Members of the Garda band playing at the Annual Garda Memorial Day for members of An Garda Síochána. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Members of the Garda band playing at the Annual Garda Memorial Day for members of An Garda Síochána. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Members of the Garda band playing at the Annual Garda Memorial Day for members of An Garda Síochána. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The ultimate sacrifice of 89 gardai who gave their lives in the line of duty was honoured today at a ceremony at Dublin Castle.

Justice Minister Heather Humphreys and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris were the principal speakers at the annual Garda Memorial Day event.

"Each and every day, it is the women and men of An Garda Siochana who protect us and keep us safe. In times of crisis, whether as individuals or as a society, they work to shield us all from harm," said Minister Humphreys.

"Over the last year, the selfless work and public service values of members of the Garda Siochana have been on constant display as we have battled with the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Gardai all over the country have undertaken essential work to stop the spread of the virus and, most importantly, to protect the most vulnerable among us," she said.

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Heather Humphreys laying wreaths. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Heather Humphreys laying wreaths. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Heather Humphreys laying wreaths. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

For the second year, a small number of people attended the socially distanced ceremony as relatives and friends of gardai who lost their lives watch the solemn proceedings on-line.

The minister thanked all gardai for their "vital work which has been rightly recognised as hugely important to combating the pandemic."

Referring to gardai who have been killed on duty, she acknowledged the sacrifices made by their families. She said: "I can only imagine how difficult it must be to love and worry for someone whose job exposes them to danger, or to see the stress and pain that situations may bring.

"I want to thank you, the families, for supporting your daughters and sons, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers as they go about their vital work on our behalf."

She referred to a number of gardai killed in recent years, including Detective Garda Colm Horkan who was shot dead in the line of duty in Castlerea, County Roscommon, on June 17 last year.

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking at the event. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking at the event. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking at the event. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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"Colm lost his life doing the job that he loved. He represented the very best of An Garda Siochana and of Ireland.

She referred to the upcoming 25th anniversary of the shooting dead of Detectivie Garda Jerry McCabe who was "brutally killed" while escorting a post office cash delivery with his colleague Detective Garda Ben O'Sullivan who was seriously wounded.

"And I think of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe murdered in January 2013 at Lordship Credit Union. I very much welcome the great work by his devoted colleagues in securing a conviction last year. I know that the team continue in their efforts to ensure all those responsible are brought to justice," she said.

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Garda Colm Horkan

Garda Colm Horkan

Garda Colm Horkan

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris also paid tribute to Detective Garda Horkan. He said the detective went to work on that evening in June last year "to perform his duties impeccably as he had for the previous 24 years. And the events of that night demonstrate his determination and courage in the exercise of his duty to protect this society."

He said all 89 gardai killed in the line of duty in the 99 year history of the force had epitomised the distinct values of the force: "Fairness, integrity, empathy, and professionalism."

Garda chaplains Fr Joe Kennedy and Archdeacon David Pierpoint conducted a prayer service at the event.

Fr Kennedy said: "We pray for all our gardai and the members of the PSNI as they carry out their duties with diligence, honesty and good humour especially in this critical phase of our nation's history. May they and their families be kept safe in their daily duties."

There was a wreath laying ceremony in the memorial garden, a minute's silence, and the garda band played the Last Post.

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