A community 'shocked and completely stunned'
“WE'RE all shocked and completely stunned. It's hard to know what to say.”
That was the reaction of MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan from his home town of Castlerea, where the death occurred of Detective Garda Colm Horkan, a native of Mayo, on Main Street late last night.
Detective Garda Horkan was shot following an incident close to the location of Castlerea Garda Station.
A man in his 40s was arrested at the scene and is being questioned.
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk earlier today, MEP Flanagan offered his condolences to Detective Garda Horkan's family and colleagues on their sad loss.
“Time will eventually heal, but it won't bring this man back,” he concluded.
Deputy Denis Naughten, a Roscommon TD (Independent), also offered his condolences and explalined that the whole community was 'shocked and saddened' at the devastating news for Detective Garda Horkan's family, colleagues and community.
“Our thoughts and our prayers are with them all at this difficult time.”
Deputy Naughten noted that Detective Garda Horkan's shooting evoked memories of the killing of Henry Byrne and John Morley almost exactly 40 years ago – on July 7, 1980.
These two members of An Garda Síochána, both from Knock in Co. Mayo, were stationed in Castlerea at the time of their deaths by shotgun fire at the hands of alleged members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) at Loughlynn, Co. Roscommon, when they intercepted a gang following a bank robbery in Ballaghaderreen.
“It's definitely something that he (Dectective Garda Horkan) would have known about growing up,” said Deputy Naughten.
“He may not have been old enough to remember it but all of the community would remember their tragic deaths.
"This brings all of that back, particularly to the community in west Roscommon and around Castlerea. It adds to the tragedy.”
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Deputy Jim O'Callaghan, also spoke on the incident, saying:
“When a member of An Garda Síochána is attacked and brutally killed, it's an attack on all of us, an attack on our democracy, and an attack on our civilised society.
“We're very lucky in this country to have a police force that has the support of the community.
"I think we need to contrast that with the way (police) forces operate in other jurisdictions, whether it be the United States or the United Kingdom, where the police are regarded as law enforcement agencies. That's not the case in Ireland.
"Gardaí are seen as being members of a community ... and that's why the brutal killing of Detective Garda Horkan is an attack on all of us.”
"SHOCKED AND SADDENED"
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he was "shocked and saddened" at the killing of the garda.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his community and all his colleagues who continue to bravely protect us all from harm every day," he said.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald described it as a shocking incident and a sad day for gardaí.
She said: "I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the garda killed in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon last night.
"My thoughts are with the garda's family and colleagues at this time.
"I know that this incident will have caused serious shock and outrage in the local community in Castlerea and the wider region."