03 October 2007

Dan Keating dies

Dan Keating, one of the last survivors of the War of Independence (if not the last survivor) and Ireland's oldest man has died aged 105.

Born in Castlemaine, County Kerry, in January 1902, he fought in the War of Independence and later against the Free State forces in the Civil War. He was involved in two major attacks on British auxiliaries, at Castlemaine and Castleisland, where up to twelve Black and Tans troops were killed.

Keating became patron of hard-line movement Republican Sinn Féin in 2002. Party president Ruairi O’Bradaigh described him as an inspiration. “One of the last, if not the last IRA veteran of the Black and Tan war, he was Patron of Republican Sinn Fein to the very day of his death and an inspiration to all true Republicans,” Mr O’Bradaigh said.

Keating remained steadfast in his hard-line views throughout his life. He refused a state pension because he regarded the Government as fundamentally illegitimate and later refused the €2,500 centenarians award over President Mary McAleese’s increasingly close relations with the British royal family. He refused to watch his beloved Kerry in the All-Ireland final in 2006 after the GAA opened Croke Park to soccer and rugby. Keating was also among a 250-strong group of former IRA prisoners who took out a full page newspaper advert in March this year urging people not to vote for Sinn Féin iover its support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Keating’s death marks breaks one of the last direct links with the conflict that culminated in the creation of an independent Irish state. However, his stubbornrefusal to recognise the government of the Republic of Ireland, his opposition to the GAA’s decision to open Croke Park to “foreign sports” and his opposition to Sinn Fein over its support for PSNI is proof to me that age does not confer wisdom. His stance was out of utterly out of step with the vast majority of nationalists in all parts of Ireland who realise that their cause is better advanced through peaceful political means rather than continue with an ever futile conflict.

A late cousin of mine fought in the North Cork brigade of the IRA and initially opposed the Treaty. By the time WWII broke out he was in living in England and working on the development of new radar systems for the British military. He had no qualms about accepting a state pension from the Irish government and I am sure he would considered Mr Keating’s inflexibility as foolish.


James Higham said...

Keating became patron of hard-line movement Republican Sinn Féin in 2002. Party president Ruairi O’Bradaigh described him as an inspiration.

This is not how my British army mates would describe him.

jams o donnell said...

I can imagine!

CC said...

I won't play pseudo intellectual. I couldn't follow a lot of what you were talking about here because I kept thinking about how much I dislike Ronan Keating's music and lamenting globalism and the spread of crappy music that otherwise would have been more contained.

He says it best when he says nothing at all.

CC said...

Maybe that holds true for me too!

jams o donnell said...

LOL Ewbl... in a straight fight I would prefer Ronan to Dan. Dan Keating was the last survivor of Ireland's war of independence and the ensuing civil war. IN that sense it is the passing of an era in Irish history. His death has not been given large coverage in Ireland, but then again most of his views are irrelevant in a modern Ireland.

sonia said...

In a way, it's a depressing post. If some Irish are still so fanatic about a war 85 years ago, it doesn't bode well for a speedy resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Even if that conflict would end TODAY, that would mean that the last Palestinian terrorist would only die circa 2100, still bitching about the President of Palestine having too close ties with Jews...

jams o donnell said...

Any issue such as this creates its ultra hardliner who will go to the death believeing exactly what they deid years ago. The good this is that the great majority will move on and adapt to the time.

Anonymous said...

Really, the only reason his views are irrelevant today though, is that since the Civil Rights movement for Catholics was suppressed by your mates in the British Army, people with "his views" have been the only ones honest enough and courageous enough to publicly expose the police state of Northern Ireland for what it really is and pay the price for doing that. And they were the only people with enough courage to physically be on the streets defending the Catholic community from your mates in the Shankhill Butchers, the UDF, the RUC, et., etc., etc. It amazes me how normally intelligent Irish and British people become ignorant, babbling idiots when it comes to N.I. - it was set up and designed by Churchill just as he set up South Africa. Yet you guys condemn South Africa but appluad Northern Ireland. You condemn terrorism, but the Black and Tans are heroes and old IRA men who lost brothers, cousins and friends to government paid thugs (like your mates) are laughed at. The really sad thing is that for centuries now the Irish have been suppressed and oppressed, someone stands up to the Brits and fights them, the Irish get a few concessions and then another crowd of Irishmen who aren't willing to fight sit back and say, let's just have peace. And then in a few years or decades the whole process repeats itself all over again. This historical perspective is what men like Keating (and my own grandfather, who was a veteran of the Munster Fusliers BTW) understood and predicted back in 1922. It's just too sad that the Irish continue to be seduced by British wealth and affluence. God save them.

jams o donnell said...

Well Anonymous, pray tell me who are my mates in the British Amry. Pray tell me also where I praise the Black and Tans. Pray tell me also how the IRA’s ongoing “armed struggle” through the 70’s 80s and 90s created anything else but corpses and maimed bodies. Oh by the way I had several relatives who fought in the War of Independence and the Civil War. Sadly I only ever knew one of them. Don’t come here and presume that I laugh at them. The tactics of 1920 are not relevant to 2007. Keating was an anachronism and you are a fool to think that he was anything else.

A united Ireland will come, if it comes, through political means and not from the barrel of a gun or a semtex bomb.

Anonymous said...

From your website:
Lord Higham-Johnson of Straf-Livingstone
"This is not how my British army mates would describe him."

This was who I was addressing, or don't you read your own website? However...

"The tactics of 1920 are not relevant to 2007."

The military tactics or the idea that the Irish people should be free to exist without walking down the street being arrested and interned by the British government or kidnapped, tortured and mutilated by their Loyalists collusionists?

"Keating was an anachronism and you are a fool to think that he was anything else."

Those who fail to learn their history are condemned to repeat it my friend. And just because a patriot is an old man does not by any means, mean that he is an anachronism.

"A united Ireland will come, if it comes, through political means and not from the barrel of a gun or a semtex bomb."

The Irish have, unfortunately, always tried peaceful means first to get their freedom and these have time and time again consistently been repressed. The Civil Rights movement was not even a Republican movement when it began, just a movement by Catholic to get equal rights, jobs, housing. Those who marched were gunned dwon in the streets like dogs by Lord Higham-Johnson's "mates" if you recall. What other recourse did the Irish Catholic community have but to revive the IRA? The Brits did it for them through Internment. It's funny how the likes of you I'm sure hate the USA for Guantanimo Bay detention center but never mention Internment or the H-Blocks...who do you think the Yanks got this from?!?!
At any rate, the only political concessions and rights that Irish Catholic have ever gotten over the years have always, always been through force of arms, *after* all peaceful means had been exhausted. It's fine for young secularists like yourself to bravely make fun of old dead men, that's always gone on. But if you know so little of your own history to be ignorant of that tragic fact, than you're the fool to think that peaceful means could have ever achieved any long lasting peace or freedom for the Irish. Where in the world are you getting that idea from? As an ethnic group we've been marked for extermination or atleast ethnocide which, you seem to be living proof of. I'm very, very sorry to say that, but it does appear to be true. And I for one will not let those who have done nothing mock those old men who, in their youths, sacrificed all and gave the likes of you a nation (and by that I mean a bit of peace and freedom), no matter how much you refuse to appreciate or acknowledge it.

jams o donnell said...

Perhaps you don’t realise but a comment is normally directed at the author of the post unless specifically stated which you didn’t do. So what did the last set of Troubles achieve? Absolutely nothing. If you can explain how, say, the Real IRA’s Omagh bombing furthered the cause of Irish liberation? The answer is absolutely nothing but more dead and maimed people. It was not a blow against the British government or its agents.

As for Keating you can say what you like. In my view he was a stubborn old fool. Boycotting GAA finals because the GAA allowed Football and Rugby to be played at Croke Park? How stupid in this day and age! Refusing a state pension? Well I suppose it reduced state spending a little but achieved nothing. If you wish to call such pig headedness that a principled stance you are welcome

As for Northern Ireland, while I have no time for either Sinn Fein or the DUP, I am pleasantly surprised to see them working together for the betterment of the country. Seeing former bitter enemies cooperating bodes far better for Northern Ireland than any amount of violence.

Anyway anonymous you have had your say now go away.