Detective Garda Colm Horkan may no longer be with the Garda family in person but his legacy of love, courage and generosity to his family, Garda colleagues and many friends will live on in perpetuity, writes John Duffy, GSRMA Dublin West Branch.
To find words to describe the person who was Colm is not an easy task but I did find a quote from a well-known spiritual writer Thomas á Kempis who wrote the following: “Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible”. Those lines capture much of what Colm Horkan exuded in his short life both as a loving son, brother and a committed and courageous member of An Garda Síochána. While over 20 years his senior, I had known Colm and his family for many years and I witnessed his generosity to both his own family and the community of Charlestown where we both grew up.
Much has been written of his sporting achievements most notably on the GAA pitch with his native Sarsfield’s Club in Charlestown and those achievements will be long remembered at that club. His introduction to the world of policing would see him based in the busy ‘K’ District in Finglas where he spent his introductory years and experienced the cut and thrust of urban policing before returning to the west and the Roscommon Division. ‘ONE OF NATURE’S GENTLEMEN’ John Hynes, his former Sergeant and since retired, gave ample testimony to Colm’s achievements and commitment to his work on a number of very serious investigations most notably what became known as the ‘Roscommon Case’.
His untimely death on the street of a normally quiet west of Ireland town on that fateful night in June sent shock waves through An Garda Síochána, the GSRMA and the country as a whole but above all through his beloved family – his father Marty, sister Deirdre, brothers Aiden, Brendan, Dermot and Padraig and his beloved Aunt Kitty who did much to care for him and the family following the death of his mother Dolores and his twin sister Colette.
The many tributes that have been paid to Colm, most notably during his funeral Mass were so inspiring and above all so true of the man of whom they spoke. Monsignor Tommie Johnston, Parish Priest of Charlestown, who knew Colm well can be quoted as saying “Colm Horkan was a good man, one of nature’s gentlemen”. Those words are without exaggeration and they embody that scarce commodity today and that is “truth”. Likewise, Commissioner Harris recalled “his hard work and diligence”, testament to his sterling worth. I had seldom set foot in Charlestown without the occasional encounter with Colm and his broad smile, and I never left such an encounter without feeling enriched by his presence.
I will continue to cherish his memory and honour his legacy for as long as I am on this earth.
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a Anam Dílís.
GSRMA Dublin West Branch