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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Probe after Irish man shot dead in Boston robbery

Breda Heffernan, Brian Hutton and Colm Kelpie

AN Irish man has been shot dead in Boston in what is believed to have been an attempted robbery gone wrong.

The body of Ciaran O Conghaile (36), a native of Inis Meain, Co Galway, was found in a pool of blood on a quiet residential street in the Dorchester area of Boston in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mr O Conghaile, who went by the English version of his name, Conneely, while in Boston, had been living in the city for 12 years and worked in the construction industry.

His devastated family in Moore Village on Inis Meain learned of his death a few hours later and were yesterday being comforted by family and friends.

It is the second tragedy for the family after they lost another son, Micheal Dara, when he was swept off a pier and washed into the sea off the island 11 years ago.

The last time Mr O Conghaile was home was to attend his brother's funeral.

It is understood that he was an undocumented immigrant and, following a clampdown on border security in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Mr O Conghaile was worried that if he travelled home to Ireland he would be unable to re-enter the United States.

Tarlach de Blacam, who runs Inis Meain Knitting company, said Mr O Conghaile worked for him for four or five years as a machine operative immediately before leaving for the US.

"He was a clever little fella but he wanted to go off and see the world," he said.

"He was lots of fun, just a lovely, bright youngster. He was always joking, good fun."


Mr de Blacam said the close community of Inis Meain, with a population of around 160, was devastated for Mr O Conghaile's father Micheal and mother Anna, as well as his surviving two sisters and brother.

"They are lovely people, a lovely family," he said. "People shouldn't have to go through this much -- one is enough."

A spokesman for the Boston Police Department said Mr O Conghaile's body had been handed over to the Medical Examiner's Office and a post-mortem was due to be performed yesterday. However, he said that it appeared that he had been shot.

"We responded to a call at 1.04am on the 10th and found a male who had suffered an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced (dead) some time later. There is an ongoing death investigation," he added.

The killing is the 50th murder in Boston so far this year and caused shock among the Irish community in the city.

Friend Stephen King said Mr O Conghaile was well-liked and popular within the Irish community in the Dorchester area.

"He was a quiet kind of a humourous fella. He wouldn't bother anyone," Mr King said.

"He was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time, he wouldn't have had any hidden agendas."

Mr O Conghaile was seen at an Irish Heritage Festival on Sunday and it is believed he was returning home to his apartment on Adam's Corner when he was attacked. The area is considered to be a safe neighbourhood and is popular with Irish immigrants and police officers and firefighters.

He is survived by his parents, sister Deirdre, who lives in Boston, brother Pol and sister Maryanne.

Irish Independent

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