Wednesday 19 June 2019

'This is a tragedy beyond words' - community rocked by sudden death of garda

His brother was killed in a hit-and-run ten years ago

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tom Shiel

A FAMILY and a community rocked by the sudden death of a young garda in a hit-and-run ten years ago has been plunged into fresh agony by the sudden death of his brother - also a serving garda officer.

John McCallion (48), who had been on a leisure cycle, was found in an unresponsive state beside his bicycle close to his home in Swinford, Co Mayo on Friday evening.

An autopsy examination at Mayo University Hospital today established that the death was sudden, due to natural causes.

The death comes just a decade after his brother, Garda Robert McCallion, was killed in a road accident while on duty in Co Donegal.

Townspeople in the McCallions’ hometown today recalled a diligent and considerate policeman who acted as local juvenile liaison officer.

"This is a tragedy beyond words," said prominent businessman Joe Mellett, a former member of Mayo County Council.

"My deepest sympathy is extended to John’s wife, Collette, and three children, his parents, Bob and Nancy and his sisters, Noirin and Deirdre”.

Mr Mellett was one of many in the east Mayo town who recalled poignant memories of the day more than a decade ago when John greeted the remains of his late brother back to the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Swinford with the words: “Welcome home, Robbie”.

Like his late brother, Garda John was active in GAA and other sporting circles.

Garda Robbie, who followed a family tradition as his father, brother, uncles and cousins all joined An Garda Siochana, was given a State funeral. with full honours.

On March 26, 2009, the then 30-year-old officer was struck by a speeding vehicle and sustained serious injuries after responding to a call at Tara Court, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin where he died two weeks later.

Arrangements for Garda McCallion’s funeral have yet to be finalised.

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