What started out as a day of celebrating his Irish heritage, ended in tragedy on Sunday, with the murder of an Irish immigrant in Dorchester, Boston. He was apparently the victim of a botched robbery.
Ciaran Conneely (36), originally from the Aran Islands in Co Galway, was the victim of a shooting, in the early hours of Monday morning, outside his home on 20 Nahant Ave, in Dorchester. A native Irish speaker, he had spent the afternoon at the annual Irish Heritage Festival in Adams Corner.
Local police discovered the Irishman’s body when they arrived on Nahant Avenue shortly after 1am on Monday morning, after an off duty firefighter called them.
The victim was pronounced dead on the scene.
The motive definitely seems to be robbery. Around the same time that he was shot a woman reported that she was robbed at gunpoint on Ashmont Street which runs parallel to Nahant Avenue where his body was found.
An off duty firefighter, Mark Folan discovered the Irishman’s body at 1am near the complex where they both lived.
“I checked his pulse,’’ Folan said, “but there was none. He was cold.’’
“He was such a nice, quiet guy,’’ he said.
Conneely, known to his friends as Kiwi, worked in construction and had not been home in ten years because of his undocumented status.
Last month he was injured when a gypsy cab driver assaulted him during a dispute over a fare, slashing him with with a razor across his ear. Conneely did not report the crime because of his status.
Originally from Inis Meain in the Aran Islands, the construction worker had been living in the U.S. for 12 years and had become undocumented. He had last returned home for the tragic funeral of his older brother Michael Dara O’Conghaile, who was swept out to sea by a freak wave on a pier on the island.
Friends of the victim and locals in the area remain in shock over the killing of the man who they knew as “Kiwi”.
A close friend of Conneely’s, Martin (who declined to give his last name), from Connemara in Co. Galway, paid tribute to his “good friend”.
“He was a really nice guy, really easy going, he would never harm anybody,” he told the Irish Voice.
Having spoken with the victim’s sister Deirdre, who also lives in Boston, Martin said the family are devastated.
“Police told her they were looking at cameras but they are not giving out any more information,” Martin said.
Conneely had lived in the area, which is heavily populated by Irish immigrants, for around four years.
“He was a very friendly guy, everybody loved him. I don’t know any person who had one bad thing to say about him,” Martin explained.
“I got to know him about ten years ago, it’s a small community here in Boston, we were working for the same company at the time.
“He had called me Sunday morning and I hadn’t returned his call,” he reflected.
Martin first heard the news about his friend on Monday morning, when Conneely failed to turn up for work.
“When my friend called to his house, he wasn’t home and an old guy in the street told him what had happened.
“He was shot and from what I hear he could have been mugged.
“There was an Irish festival and he was walking home,” Martin added.
The Irish Heritage Festival in Adams Corner had finished at around 8pm on Sunday evening, organizers confirmed to the Irish Voice. Conneely’s movements between then and the time of the shooting remain unknown.
Funeral services are being arranged in Dorchester before his body is flown home to Ireland in the coming days. He is survived by his father Micheal and mother Anna, two sisters and one brother.
The Department of Foreign Affairs have been providing consular assistance to the family.
Boston police have appealed for anyone with information surrounding this incident to call the Homicide Unit at (617) 343-4470.
CONNEELY Ciaran, in Dorchester, Oct. 9, Age 36, formerly of Inishmaan, Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Ireland. Devoted son of Anna (Maher) and Michael Conneely, brother of Pol, Mary Anne Conneely, Deirdre Nikoras and the late Michael Conneely. Also survived by many relatives and friends. Visiting hours at the William J. Gormley Funeral Home, 2055 Centre St., West Roxbury, Wednesday Oct. 12, from 4 - 8 pm. Funeral Mass in St. Marks Church, 1725 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Thursday, Oct. 13 at 11 o’clock. Relatives and friends invited. Interment in Inishmaan, Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Ireland. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his name to the Irish Pastoral Center, 15 Rita Rd. Dorchester, MA 02124. For directions and guestbook see www.gormleyfuneral.com