Laois Gardaí hold memorial service for fallen colleague Detective Garda Colm Horkan

Pat Somers

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Pat Somers

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pat@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois Gardaí hold service for fallen colleague Detective Garda Colm Horkan

An ecumenical memorial service for the late Detective Garda Colm Horkan was held at Portlaoise Garda station at noon this Sunday. 

Monsignor John Byrne and Church of Ireland Rector, Peter Tarleton led the service. 

A minute's silence was observed upon the stroke of 12pm. 

As well as serving members, also in attendance were retired members of An Garda Síochána, and representatives from the Prison Service, Ambulance Service and Laois Civil Defence. 

Addressing the crowd, Chief Superintendent John Scanlan said that Detective Garda Colm Horkan was a "true member of society.

"He gave his life defending that society. As we stand here today we also need to remember our own colleagues in this division which has also unfortunately contributed to that. We pray here this morning for Betty Peters. Betty Peters husband Tom died last year. He was with Garda Michael Clerkin when they were blown up by a bomb in Garryhinch in 1976.

"She also gave service, gave most of her life caring for Tom Peters and I am glad to say we were fortunate that Garda Michael Clerkin, Sgt Jim Cannon, Detective Garda Tom Peters, Detective Garda Ben Thornton and Garda Gerry Bohan were awarded Scott Medals prior to the passing of Tom Peters.

"We want to remember the other members of Garda Horkan's graduation class who have also passed to their eternal reward - Eoghan Fitzgerald, Garda Ambrose Fogarty and Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe - past graduates who have paid a high price in the service of this State. We need to remember them all and carry on their good name the proud tradition of this organisation.

"I want to acknowledge the presence of our sister services, the Ambulance Service, Civil Defence and the Prison Service. The Prison Service itself has two members of the Horkan family serving in it. The Horkan family is a family of service to the public. 

"It is ironic that Garda Horkan's dad on father's day has to bury his son having previously buried his wife and Garda Horkan's twin sister Collette. We hang in this life on a very thin thread but we are a proud people, a proud nation and I'm especially proud of you young member of An Garda Síochána who stand before me here today in honour of Garda Horkan. 

"It is important that we maintain those links with each other and those who have gone before us. I want to acknowledge the presence here today of the retired members of An Garda Síochána. They too will have memories.

"My personal memory is being in Ballinamore when Gary Sheehan was shot dead. Private Kelly of the Irish Defence Forces died alongside him that day. 

"I also want to remember the people in the Maryborough centre here in Portlaoise who died recently and I want to acknowledge the work of the frontline staff who helped them in their final hours. The public service called up like never before in these difficult times.

"This time will pass and life will go on. I would ask you to honour the memory of Garda Colm Horkan in your lives and careers and your service," concluded Chief Superintendent Scanlan. 

'The Parting Glass' was sung by Ramona Farrell of the Irish Prison Service. The Last Post and National Anthem concluded the service.