A close friend of Detective Colm Horkan who died in a shooting overnight has said he "is the fellow that you would bring into the trenches with you".

John Casey, the former Mayo footballer, said he and Colm grew up together in Charlestown, Co Mayo.  

"The community are beyond devastated. The town is numb with pain at the moment," he said.

"Colm was a great GAA man. He won a County Minor title in 1988, County Under-21 title in 1991, and County Intermediate in 1993. He was a GAA fanatic and when you are a GAA fanatic in a GAA community you blend in very well.

"He was respected by everyone who knew him. Always turned out very well, always looked pristine.

"Colm is the fellow you would bring into the trenches with you.

"I remember I was a couple of years his junior and several times I got into trouble on the football pitch and just before I was to get put in my place, lo and behold Colm was there to lend a hand and offer assistance.

"He was the guy you would pick to be on your team first every time because you'd know he wouldn't see you stuck.

"He loved his job. He was a mad Liverpool fan, mad Mayo fanatic. He's the type of guy, even myself as a former county player, you would just respect what advice Colm Horkan had to give you about football.

"He would have been your role model guard. He was straight as a die. What you saw with Colm was what you'd get.

"Ultimately it cost him his life."

GAA president John Horan extended the sympathies of the Association to Detective Horkan's family and said: "The strength of the GAA is based on the strength of our volunteers and the commitment they make to serve their community, and Colm Horkan had those selfless qualities in abundance.

"He is fondly remembered by his friends in Charlestown Sarsfields GAA club where he not only played, but where he continued to help and serve in a wide range of roles off the field."

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Detective Garda Colm Horkan speaking to RTÉ in 2002 about his mother and the family's passion for GAA.

Garda shot dead with own gun in 'random act'
Death of garda 'damages our society as a whole' - Higgins

Retired Garda Sergeant John Hynes who led the 'House of Horrors' child abuse case in Roscommon has paid an emotional tribute to his "right hand man" Det Garda Colm Horkan.

Mr Hynes told RTÉ's Liveline that Det Horkan "would leave no stone unturned to get justice for victims" and said his attention to detail in every aspect of the job was "absolutely exemplary".

He said he was loved by everyone and a man who stood out "as one in a million in his community".

He said Det Horkan was "the most reliable guy you could find and was a rock of sense with the integrity every policeman or woman should have".

Mr Hynes described Det Horkan was an exemplary garda who was one of nature's true gentlemen.

He said he was his right hand man "and one of the best friends I ever had in An Garda Síochána and since I retired form the job".

He said he got a call in the early hours of this morning from a garda colleague who informed him of what had happened.

Mr Hynes said his own children are heartbroken as they knew him well and had so much respect, love and affection for him.

"It's heartbreaking," he said through tears.

He said Det Horkan's family is heartbroken, and that the Detective had a twin sister who died a number of years ago.

Also speaking on the same programme, retired Sgt Paul McDermott, said that it was a "privilege" to work alongside Det Horkan.

He said Det Horkan was "fantastic to work with, you could always rely on him".

"He had a happy face. He would think before saying something and what he would say would be spot on," Mr McDermott added.

He commended the work carried out by Det Horkan and his retired colleague Mr Hynes in sexual abuse cases in the Roscommon area.