Tributes pour in after death of Cork North Civil Defence volunteer who had 'a heart of gold'

Tributes pour in after death of Cork North Civil Defence volunteer who had 'a heart of gold'
Cork North Civil Defence volunteer Brian 'Chopper' Connery.

Tributes have poured in for a Cork North Civil Defence member who sadly passed away yesterday morning.

At just 39 years of age, Brian Connery passed away after an ongoing battle with a long term illness.

Brian had been one of the longest serving members in North Cork Civil Defence and represented the unit with pride and honour.

Affectionately known as Chopper because of his love for helicopters, Mr Connery had been a member of the Cork North unit for 24 years after joining at the age of 16 in 1996.

He had also been involved in other local voluntary search and rescue organisations such as Mallow Search and Rescue, Blackwater Sub Aqua Club in Fermoy, and the Order of Malta in Carrigaline.

His comrades in the Cork North unit and units across the country have been paying tribute to the proud Civil Defence volunteer.

Civil Defence Officer of Cork North Civil Defence, Gerard Sheehan, said that is was  a very sad day in the unit as it said goodbye to one of its longest serving members.

“Brian was always at the other side of the phone if you wanted anything. When I used to organise the duties before I got this job as Civil Defence Officer and if I was stuck the night before a duty, he’d get straight back onto me.

“He’d never let me down, you could always rely on him and he had a heart of gold. The Civil Defence School in Roscrea had great time for him too.

“He loved the boats and the helicopter, the helicopter was his main thing. He was winched up once or twice with the Coastguard helicopter off the boat. He loved it," he said.

The Civil Defence College in Roscrea said in a social media post: “It is a very sad day in Civil Defence today as Cork North CD have lost one of their long serving volunteers Brian Connery. Brian passed away this morning after a long battle with illness. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. RIP."

Laois Civil Defence offered its condolences to Mr Connery and his family, friends and colleagues in Civil Defence.

“Condolences to Brian's family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time from everyone in Laois CD. We know all too well the loss you are suffering at this time. May Brian rest in peace,” the unit posted.

Cork Airport Police and Fire & Rescue Service said: “Condolences to Brian’s family, friends and all his colleagues in NCCD. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.” 

CDO of Tipperary Civil Defence, Dolores Fahy offered sincere sympathy to Mr Connery’s family and friends and all his colleagues.

“May he rest in peace. From all in Tipperary Civil Defence,” she said.

Waterford County Civil Defence said: “Our condolences to his family, friends and members of cork north CD in this hard time. May he Rest In Peace.” 

A fellow Cork North volunteer said: “So sad to hear of Brian's passing, such a wonderful person to know and travel with on so many Civil Defence training and duties, he represents Cork North CD with pride and honour throughout the country at all levels, rest in peace Chopper. Fly high ‘till we meet again, it was a privilege to know you, sincere condolence to his mam and family.” 

Civil Defence Officers from other units across the country will be in attendance at Mr Connery’s funeral mass being held today and Mr Sheehan said that the unit was hoping to organise a fly-by with the Coastguard in honour of their comrade and friend.

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