07 October 2007

Dan Keating and his funeral

Dan Keating did not recognise the Republic of Ireland. The Irish government reciprocated and took little notice of his passing. According to the Irish Independent only one mainstream political figure attended his funeral – the recently elected Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly.

Quite pointedly the RTE’s complete coverage of Mr Keating’s death and burial was this:

The funeral has taken place of Dan Keating, the last surviving IRA veteran of the War of Independence. He was 105 years old..Mr Keating was born in Castlemaine, Co Kerry and joined the IRA while still in his teens. He was involved in ambushes during the War of Independence, including one on the night before the truce was declared. He took the Republican side during the Civil War and opposed partition for the rest of his life.

Basically RTE was saying “an old man died - now on to the tap dancing poodle”. In one sense it is a shame that the passing of the last (and not one of the last) veteran of the Irish war of independence received scant coverage but it was his choice not to recognise the Republic of Ireland/ The situation would almost certainly had been different had he not been a fanatic, clinging on to an ideology that the vast majority of Irish nationalists reject wholeheartedly.

It is in hard line Republican websites and places such as Indymedia that you see eulogies to Mr Keating:

“Dan has spoken against the GFA and the playing of Garrison games in Croke Park. He was a great inspiration to all Irish Republicans and will be sorely missed” Garrison games? - That’s Football/Soccer and Rugby Union to the world outside of the ultra-fanatical Irish Republican

“I was particularly impressed to read how refused to accept his pension from the Free State government..... It is a damn pity that they were not more like Dan.” - Correct me if I’m wrong but the term Irish Free State has not been in use since 1937. I doubt the Irish Free State would have considered awarding a pension to a man in his 30s!

Now on to other subjects....

2 comments:

T. O Donnell said...

Nice to see a man sticking by his principles. Britain is still an occupying force in Ireland. If what the British had done in Ireland were done by, say, France, we'd be hearing ad nauseam about how terrible it all was, and what brutes they were.

What is faintly sickening is how keen a certain type of upper-class Irishman is to say "Let's forget the past, it's all water under the bridge, etc. etc."

Fair enough, we may forgive the past, but only a fool forgets it.

jams o donnell said...

I'm sorry but I didn't consider Dan Keating's inflexibility to be praiseworthy, in the same way I would not praise a die hard Stalinist.

But don't get me wrong he was the last link to a pivotal moment in Irish history. Nobody should forget: we should all stare our history straight in the face, whoever we are. However we should learn from it, not live in it.

A united Ireland will not come from the barrell of a gun. If it comes it will be through political means.

While I never had time for Siin Fein I do applaud their participateion in teh Government of Northern Ireland. I aslo applaud the cooperation between SF and the DUP. While reunification is currently far over the horizon, it is more likely to be facilitated through peace and trust between than through sectarian violence.