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Special Memorial Brother of Detective Colm Horkan killed in line of duty says support helped them through 'hard year'

Dermot Horkan and his family will be in Castlerea this Saturday to attend a special memorial for the late Garda


Dermot Horkan

Dermot Horkan

Dermot Horkan

The brother of Garda Detective Colm Horkan who was killed in the line of duty last year has told how the support of their community, the Garda family and people from all over the world has helped them get through a "hard long year". 

Dermot Horkan and his family will be in Castlerea this Saturday to attend a special memorial for the late Garda.

The Charlestown native was killed following a shooting incident in Castlerea on June 17 last. A man is due to go on trial for his capital murder next year.

The Garda Commissioner is due to attend a special commemoration event this weekend in the town when a memorial garden and plaque in memory of the officer will be unveiled.

Dermot explained how the thousands of messages the family has received has been a great comfort to Colm's elderly father.

“It has surely played a massive part in helping us in the last year to get through it,” Dermot said. “His work colleagues and our great friends in Charlestown and the people right across the globe, we cannot thank them enough for the way they have supported us.

“(It’s) being amazing (over) the last 12 months. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year, a long hard year, not just for us but with Covid for lots of other families. To ask me where the year went, it went fast but it's been tough alright.”

Garda Horkan lived at home with his dad who Dermot says, still opens all the correspondence he receives from well-wishers.

“I won't say he enjoyed it but he did take great comfort from it,” Dermot revealed. “Every single card he read. And it wasn't just the card, there would be a letter in there too. There were hundreds and he read through every name, as we all did when we come to the house.

“There were often fifteen to twenty cards a day. I was up there yesterday and there are still cards coming in, with the first anniversary of course and he got great comfort (from that).

“The support we got as a family from the gardai, Colm’s colleagues, and his friends and our own friends and people far and wide who still come to the house. There’s nearly someone there every time you go up.”

Dermot added that with Colm’s birthday in December when he would have been 50, was marked with a “lovely (event) at the station. They planted a tree and a plague (was unveiled) and the commissioner came down. We could only have 20 (of us there).”

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Dermot added that at times like Cheltenham which Colm attended last year was “another week he would have loved and things like that (is when) you really miss him.”

Dermot said a mass planned for Saturday will see the commissioner “unveiling two plagues, a lovely one at the station and around the corner where the tragic event happened they’re going to unveil a plaque there as well for Colm on the wall.

“His anniversary is on the night of the 17th, before midnight, that’s his date of death and we're having a mass in St James’s in Charlestown on Thursday evening for family and it will be live-streamed,” he added.

Last month, the 89 gardai who gave their lives in the line of duty were honoured 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.

Minister Humphries referred to a number of gardai killed in recent years, including Detective Garda Horkan.

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

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."

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