A young garda who died in a shooting incident at his Kerry home had wanted to be a policeman like his father since childhood, mourners at his funeral were told yesterday.
Garda Adrian Hickey died less than 24 hours after sustaining a single gunshot wound to the head at his home in Tralee last Sunday.
Gardai are treating the incident as a tragedy.
The 29-year-old native of Blarney, Co Cork, was engaged to be married to his fiancee Emily Curran, who brought a photograph of the couple to the altar as part of the offertory gifts at the Requiem Mass.
Fr Bill Bermingham told the packed Church of the Immaculate Conception in Blarney that Ireland owed a lot to the young garda who had loved his job, tried to see the good in people and had worked to make a difference.
"Maybe he saw the person not the suspect or the addict or the problem -- and he got to see a lot of the darker side of human living," Fr Bermingham said.
"Five years serving in the garda drugs squad cannot be easy. Yet Adrian brought into that work his own understanding of human weakness and his own human strength."
Garda Hickey's father, Ted, is a respected retired officer who served for most of his career at Cork's Watercourse Road station.
The mourners were led by Ted Hickey and his wife, Rita, their children David and Padraig and Garda Hickey's fiancee, Emily.
Fr Bermingham told mourners that the tragedy may never be understood.
"We do not know if some burden became too much or simply came at the wrong time. That is a mystery Adrian takes with him to the God who understands all," he said.
The Mass featured a garda honour guard with Garda Hickey's coffin draped in the Tricolour with his garda cap placed on top.
Senior garda officers attended to pay their respects including assistant commissioners Donal O Cualain and Fintan Fanning.