Volunteer Josie Connolly 25th Anniversary Commemoration
The Sean MacDiarmada Society Aghyaran/Castlederg held a 25th anniversary commemoration for our esteemed friend and comrade Volunteer Josie Connolly on Sunday past, the 9th of February, at his graveside in Aghyaran in conjunction with his family. We take this opportunity to extend sincere thanks from both ourselves and the Connolly family to all who attended and participated in the day's events.
The huge numbers who gathered in solidarity with Josie's family, to remember his life and sacrifice, is a proud testament to the fact that his memory and ideals remain forever in the hearts of the people of West
Tyrone. We will continue to remember him, and all those who gave their lives for Irish freedom, with dignity and respect as we strive to provide the only fitting tribute to them - which remains the realisation of the reunified, independent and democratic Ireland for which they died.
Assembling at the graveside under a guard of honour provided by West Tyrone 1916 Societies wreaths were laid on behalf of the family, the local 1916 Societies, Friends and Comrades and Tyrone National Graves. A touching reflection on Josie's life was read by his sister Aine, reminding those present of the determined service Josie gave to the republican movement in defence of his people while reinforcing the abiding memory of him as a loving, caring brother who had so much to offer in life - from his precocious ability in the boxing ring and on the field of his local GAA club, Castlederg St. Eugene's, to his excellent work with the young folk in the area encouraging them to fulfill their own sporting promise.
Both ourselves and the Connolly family again extend our appreciation to the hundreds who turned out to honour and pay tribute to Josie's memory. It gives us great confidence and belief to know his spirit lives on in those he continues to inspire, in both West Tyrone and further afield. His honour and dedication serve as a guiding light to those he left behind. We will always remember with pride our dear brother, our friend and our comrade, Volunteer James 'Josie' Connolly