An Irish police detective who was shot and killed in the service has been ” one of the gentlemen, and more “, mourners at his funeral have heard.
The state funeral of Detective Garda Colm Horkan is to take place in his home town of Charlestown, in the County of Mayo.
He was shot several times with his own gun after the gun has been taken out of him in Castlerea, in County Roscommon, on Wednesday.
A 43 year-old man has been charged with murder and appeared in court Friday.
His funeral will take place at St James’ Church in Charlestown, the church where Det Garda Horkan has been baptized and has also served as a reader.
Hundreds of police from local divisions have formed a guard of honour for their colleague as he was brought to the church.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is attending the funeral.
Irish president Michael d. Higgins was unable to attend the funeral because of the pandemic of restrictions, but it marked the beginning of a period of reflection by ringing the Bell of Peace at the presidential residence at noon.
Flags on government and other state buildings were lowered to half-mast in tribute.
The number of people allowed in the church is strongly limited because of Covid-19 restrictions, but friends and neighbors are watching the service on a screen at the local GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) in the soil.
Fr Tommy Johnston told mourners that the shots that killed Det Garda Horkan were heard ” across the country, the propagation of a history of tragedy and sadness “.
He said that when he first heard the report that an unnamed garda detective was dead, he said: “I pity the priest who has to do at a funeral. Did I think I would be a priest and that the detective garda was Colm. “
En Johnston has described how, on the night of Friday, as Det Garda Horkan’s body was brought back to his home, ” hundreds of people marched in the streets.”
“As the hearse passed on its way, those who lined the street joined in a silent march of welcome for a man who was loved and respected in the community,” he said.
“Young and old together to the foot… a reminiscence of a man whose voice was soft and respectful approach. That gentleness and respect gained the good will of many and endeared the young and the old. “
“They watch over us “
The officer was the 89th member of the Garda Síochána to die on duty.
Thank the police for their ” commitment and dedication “, En Johnston added: “Their work never stops, 24/7, a guard is on duty, in the words of a prayer that they “watch over us while we sleep and protect us while we are awake’. ”
He acknowledged that Det Garda Horkan of death have left many questions for the people closest to him.
“I can’t answer these questions, but it seems when God takes the young, he only takes the best,” he said.
Fr Johnston was ended by a tribute written by a friend of Det Garda Horkan: “Colm was a valuable member of our community, a brother to everyone, young and old. We grew up together, played together and performed in school plays together.
“Now, we are in a state of shock and mourning. We are heart broken for Colm’s family, colleagues and many, many friends.
“It will take time, a lot of time for our community to come to terms with this senseless act of violence against our brother, Colm. ”
Custody of agents across the country observed a minute of silence at noon, in tribute to Det Garda Horkan.