The sod was turned this afternoon in Charlestown on a memorial GAA pitch and walkway in honour of Detective Garda Colm Horkan.

Detective Garda Horkan sustained fatal gunshot wounds while on duty in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, on June 17, 2020.

A man arrested and charged with murder afterwards is to be tried before the Central Criminal Court next year.

Detective Garda Horkan, a native of Charlestown, was a stalwart member of the local Sarsfields GAA Club.

Some €350,000 has already been raised locally for what will be officially known as the Colm Horkan Memorial Pitch and Walkway.

The project is scheduled for completion next year.

The ceremonial sod-turning was performed just before lunchtime today (Friday)  by the Minister of State for Sports and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers T.D. alongside the late officer’s father, Marty Horkan, and other Horkan family members.

The Bishop of Achonry, Paul Dempsey, did the official blessing.

Club chairman, Liam Breheny told the large crowd at today’s ceremony – which included pupils from local primary schools and St. Joseph’s Community College – that some of the happiest times in Colm’s life were spent either playing on the existing pitch or keeping an eye on current and future talent from the sidelines.

In his address, Minister Chambers said the community response to the fundraising effort had been “absolutely outstanding” especially in the current challenging time for fundraisers.

The Minister went on to say that the local fundraising effort showed not just the community commitment to the GAA club but also “the enduring affection for Colm and the values he stood for”.

In a brief address, Bishop Dempsey said it was particularly lovely to see so many young people in attendance – a younger generation that will most benefit from the great facility which is being provided.

Watching proudly as the ceremonies proceeded was Colm Horkan’s father and other members of his family.

Also present was his godmother, Kitty Walsh who predicted the planned new pitch and walkway would be “a huge asset to future generations”.

 

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