October 3, 2007
Dan Keating, life-long Irish republican and patron of Republican Sinn Féin has died today after a short illness. he was 105 years old.
Keating, born on January 2, 1902 and raised in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, County Kerry, received his education in local schools, including the Christian Brothers’ School in Tralee. Tralee was also the place where Keating did his apprenticeship. During this time he became a skillful Gaelic football player in his native Kerry.
Dan Keating joined Fianna Éireann in 1918. In 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, he joined the Boherbee B Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Kerry Brigade, Irish Republican Army. On 21 April 1921, Royal Irish Constabulary Constable Denis O’ Loughlin was shot dead in Knightly public house in Tralee. Keating, Jimmy O’Connor and Percy Hanafin were suspected of the killing, and were forced to go on the run. On 1 June Keating was involved in an ambush between Castlemaine and Milltown which claimed the lives of 5 RIC men. On 10 July, a day before the truce between the IRA and British forces, Keating’s unit was involved in a gun battle with the British Army near Castleisland. This confrontation resulted in the deaths of four British soldiers and five IRA Volunteers.
Keating opposed the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and fought on the Republican side in the Irish Civil War. He was involved in operations in counties Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary, before his column was arrested by Free State Forces. Keating spent seven months in Portlaoise Prison and the Curragh Prison before being released in March 1923.
Keating remained an IRA member for many years after the Civil War. He was arrested several times during the thirties on various charges. He remained active in the IRA in Kerry, and was part of an IRA squad which attempted to assassinate the Irish fascist leader Eoin O’Duffy on his way to a rally in Tralee in 1933. Keating was active in England as O/C of London IRA during the 1939/1940 IRA bombing campaign. After giving the London Special Branch the slip he managed to return to Ireland only to find himself imprisoned once again in the Curragh internment camp, although this time it was his former comrade Éamon de Valera who had ordered his incarceration.
Dan Keating subsequently returned to Dublin and worked as a barman in several public houses and was also a trade union activist. He retired and returned to his native Ballygamboon, Kerry in 1978. He remained a militant republican to the end having left Sinn Fein in 1986 when it voted to end its ban on taking seats in the Irish parliament. Soon after Keating joined Republican Sinn Féin, which was led by a former IRA chief of staff Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, and when US fund raiser and former IRA gun-runner George Harrison died in November 2004, Keating became patron of that organization.
Up until his death he refused to accept a state pension because he considered the 26-county Republic of Ireland an illegitimate state which usurped the 1916 Irish Republic. In 2002 he refused the state’s standard €2,500 award to centenarians from president Mary McAleese.*
* Taken from Wikinews and other sources.