AN TAOISEACH Leo Vardkar has led the tributes to Detective Garda Colm Horkan who was killed on patrol in Roscommon last night.
The officer was alone on the streets of Castlerea shortly before midnight last night, when he became involved in a physical altercation with a person who gained control of Det Horkan's gun and shot him multiple times.
The Garda, who had served with the force for 24 years, died at the scene despite best efforts from emergency services to save his life.
Det Garda Horkan is the 89th officer to lose his life in the line of duty since An Garda Síochána was established almost 100 years ago, and tributes and condolences to his family have been flooding in since the tragic news emerged early this morning.
Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
RIP - 17th June 2020.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/wHKVRYMqOA
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) June 18, 2020
"I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the Garda who has died in the course of their duties," Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wrote in a statement.
"Every day our Gardai put themselves on the frontline of crime prevention, on behalf of all of us. This requires regular acts of bravery and courage.
"Sometimes the outcome is tragic and a Garda makes the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties.
"Our thoughts today are with all those grieving as a result of this tragic incident."
President Michael D Higgins told RTÉ News that "the death of a garda, active on duty, is a blow to us all."
"It's an appalling event to have happened," President Higgins said, extending his condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in An Garda Síochána on their "terrible loss".
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said Det Horkan's death was "devastating news to wake to.
"A Garda serving his community has been killed on duty. To his family and friends we offer our deepest condolences."
Members of the Irish Coast Guard extended their "deepest sympathies" to everyone who knew Det Garda Horkan, and said "The members of An Garda Síochána represent the very best of our society, the few that put themselves in harm's way to protect the many."
.@IrishCoastGuard extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends & colleagues of Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
The members of An Garda Síochána represent the very best of our society, the few that put themselves in harm's way to protect the many.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam pic.twitter.com/G53iOsaulq
— Irish Coast Guard (@IrishCoastGuard) June 18, 2020
Mayo man Liam Horan paid tribute to the Garda, who was originally from Charlestown, Co Mayo, and said "Anyone who knew Garda Colm Horkan liked him.
"That broad smile was never off his face. A genuinely warm, positive and fun-loving man. Always a buzz when you met him.
"A real cornerstone of [Mayo GAA] removed too young and without rhyme or reason. May he rest in peace."
One man has been arrested in connection with the death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan, and a murder inquiry has been launched.
Today, the tricolour is flying at half mast at the Garda Headquarters as a mark of respect for the fallen officer.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.