Fiancee holds rose for tragic garda Adrian

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG garda who wanted since childhood to be a policeman like his father and who died in a shooting tragedy was buried in his native Cork.

Garda Adrian Hickey died less than 24 hours after sustaining a single gunshot wound to the head in a shooting at his home in Tralee, Co Kerry, last Sunday.

The gunshot was inflicted by his Garda-issued SIG handgun. His colleagues are treating the incident as "a terrible tragedy".

The 29-year-old native of Blarney, Co Cork, was engaged to be married to Emily Curran -- and his fiance yesterday brought a rose and framed photograph of the young couple to the altar as part of the Offertory Gifts at Garda Hickey's Requiem Mass.

They got engaged just a few months ago. Fr Bill Bermingham told the packed Church of the Immaculate Conception that Ireland owed a lot to the garda who had loved his job, tried to see the good in people and had worked to make a difference wherever he was based.

"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 he also brought his own human strength."

Garda Hickey's father, Ted, is a respected retired officer who served most of his career in Cork's Watercourse Road Garda Station.