Patron of Republican Sinn Féin Dan Keating dies at age 105

Wednesday, 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.

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 a long time after the Civil War. He was arrested several times during the thirties on various charges. Keating was active in London during the 1939/1940 IRA bombing campaign.

Keating subsequently returned to Dublin and worked as a barman in several public houses. He retired and returned to his native Ballygamboon, Kerry in 1978. To 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. After former IRA gun-runner George Harrison died in November 2004, Keating became patron of Republican Sinn Féin.