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104 year old Veteran views ‘Wind that shakes the Barley’

category national | arts and media | other press author Thursday June 29, 2006 20:01author by Sean McIntyre Report this post to the editors

Dan Keating (104), and patron of Republican Sinn Fein , made a two hour trek to see new film "The Wind That Shakes The Barley".

104 year old Veteran views ‘Wind that shakes the Barley’

It took Dan Keating two hours to travel by bus to Cork City where, in the presence of Loach, the film premiered last Wednesday. Even at the age of 104, it was a trip that Mr Keating, who fought against the Black and Tans in the struggles of the 1920s, was determined to make.

"It brought back old memories, all right , I thought it was very factual now, very good. It worked very well, I thought." Keating, a rifleman, took part in two large-scale "Tan war" actions, at Castlemaine and Castleisland in Co Kerry, in which twelve Black and Tans and other British personnel were killed. He is one of the few men alive to have witnessed events at first hand.

The "Tan war" is now officially viewed as the triumph of courageous rebels against British occupation, and is commemorated with pride by all political parties in the Republic of Ireland. But the subsequent civil war, in which Keating fought on the side of the anti-treaty rebels, pitted brothers against brothers in a vicious conflict which created internal divisions that are dying out only now. So, while tales of the Tans have always been told with relish, the Irish are mostly very reticent to recall the civil war.

Mr Keating said of his civil war opponents: "They were worse than the Black and Tans, and they committed some awful atrocities. In one week they murdered 19 people - comrades I knew only too well. They were just gone overnight."

One of these actions was carried out on the eve of a truce. "We knew the truce was coming up.’ .Mr Keating's life is doubly remarkable in that he has survived not just physically but also in terms of his opinions. These have remained absolutely intact for almost 90 years.

He is the patron of Republican Sinn Fein, a Republican party. Its members regard themselves as the true heirs of the state's founding fathers. Mr Keating has never accepted a state pension because he regards the Dublin government as fundamentally illegitimate. He refused to accept the state's standard €2,500 (£1,380) award to centenarians because he was "stunned" to hear the Irish President saying that her ambition was to walk through Dublin with the Queen.

He describes the current Irish peace process as "a joke", saying his views have "never changed" over the years’, the only time you will ever have peace is when the people of the 32 counties elect one parliament."

Related Link: http://www.rsf.ie
author by Sean M.publication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 20:08Report this post to the editors

Here is how his 100th Birthday was reported in SAOIRSE. SAOIRSE- Irish Freedom, is RSF's monthly newspaper and is the voice of the Republican Movement.

Veteran Kerry Republican attains his 100th year

REPUBLICANS from all around Co Kerry gathered in Tralee on January 5 last to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of Kerry’s most illustrious sons – Dan Keating, who was 100 years old on January 2, 2002. The function was also attended by Líta Ní Chathmhaoil, Ard-Rúnaí and Josephine Hayden, Ard Chomhairle, on behalf of the Ard Chomhairle of Republican Sinn Fíin.

Dan Keating was born in 1902 in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, Co Kerry. He joined the Fianna in Tralee in 1918 and about two years later joined the Irish Republican Army and served in the Farmer’s Bridge unit.

This unit included men of the calibre of Johnny Duggan, Johnny O’Connor, Timmy Galvin. Moss Galvin, Jack Corkery, Jim Ryle, Mick Hogan and Jamesy Whiston.

The unit was very active from 1920 to 1924 and many of its members took part in the Headford ambush which claimed the lives of approximately 20 British soldiers. Volunteers Danny Allman and Jimmy Bailey also lost their lives at Headford.

Dan took part in the ambush at Castlemaine in which eight RIC and Black-and-Tans were killed. Gerry Moyles was severely injured in this encounter. The last ambush in Kerry took place in Castleisland on the night before the Truce and Dan also participated in this. Four RIC members were killed in this action and Volunteers Jack Shanahan, Jack Prenderville, John McMahon and John Flynn lost their lives.

In 1922 after the Treaty of Surrender Dan was transferred to a unit in Tralee which was commanded by Tommy Barton of Ballyroe when they occupied Ballymullen barracks for a period of three months. Dan took part in the attack on Listowel barracks, now occupied by the Free Staters, in which one Free Stater was shot dead.

In Limerick, Dan, along with comrades from Kerry, fought the Free State troops over a period of ten days. Republican Volunteers Patrick Foran, Charlie O’Hanlon and Tom McLaughlin lost their lives there. Dan was then sent to Tipperary to instruct Gerry Moyles to return to Kilmallock but on the way they were surrounded by Free Staters.

After a battle at Two Mile Borris Dan and his comrades were taken prisoner and held in Thurles barracks for two days before being conveyed to Portlaoise jail where he was held for six months. This was to be the first of many times Dan was interned by the Free State.

During his period in Portlaoise the jail was burned and Volunteer Paddy Hickey from Dublin was shot dead. Dan was then transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp and was held there until March 1923. A Free State soldier named Bergin from Nenagh, who became friendly with the Republican prisoners and acted as courier to Republicans on the outside, was executed by the Staters.

Dan was charged with possession of a shotgun in 1930 and was issued a summons but did not attend court and was fined £1. In the true Republican tradition he refused and was sent to Limerick jail and held for one week. During a court case in Tralee involving Johnny O’Connor and Mick Kennedy, in which they refused to recognise the court, their supporters in the courthouse cheered loudly and when things died down the judge ordered Dan Keating to be brought up before him and gave him three months for contempt.

Dan was jailed in Cork with Johnny O’Connor but after a hunger strike by Johnny both were released after three weeks. The next time Dan was interned was after O’Duffy’s visit to Tralee; he was sentenced to six months in Arbour Hill. Dan was later captured in Carrigans in Clonmel by a policeman who had previously arrested him in Tralee and was taken first to Thurles and from there to the Curragh where he was held for three years and six months.

In this period the camp was burned and Volunteer Barney Casey from Longford shot dead.

Dan was also on active service in England during the early 1940s.

Dan returned to work in Dublin and operated as a barman in the Eagle House, James Street, the Cornet and the Kilmardenny public houses.

Dan’s other great interest was Gaelic games, and indeed between football and hurling he has attended more than 150 All-Ireland senior finals including replays which must be a record in itself. However, he is very disappointed in the GAA following the dropping of Rule 21, and says he will not attend another game.

When Dan retired he returned to Kerry in 1978 and now resides in Ballygamboon, Castlemaine.

During his long, healthy and adventurous life Dan has seen many splits and deviations from Republican principles but he remained loyal and true to the Republican cause as he attained his hundredth year.

Proceedings were chaired by John Mangan, Tralee, Cathaoirleach, Kerry Comhairle Ceantair and Seoirse de Rís, Tralee paid eloquent tribute to Dan’s long and inspirational life. A tribute was also paid by Siobhán Walsh, Listowel, daughter of Dan’s old comrade, Willie Walsh, who, sadly, did not live to see Dan reach his centenary. Matt Leen, Tralee, read a Roll of Honour of Dan’s comrades whom he worked with in the Republican Movement down the years and Líta Ní Chathmhaoil, Ard Chomhairle, paid a short tribute.

A silver salver was presented to Dan by Líta on behalf of the Republican Movement; Josephine Hayden made a presentation on behalf of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Fíin, who could not be present and Seán Murphy presented a painting to Dan on behalf of Uinseann Mac Eoin. In a brief speech Dan ‘Bally’ Keating thanked those assembled for the tributes paid to him. Dan remains in good health and travels quite often to Dublin where he has many friends.

As Dan neared his birthday, officials of the Free State got in touch and said that the 26-County President, Mary McAleese would be in Tralee and would present him with the £2,000 cheque that the State gives to centenarians. Dan told them that she was not President of Ireland, his President was Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and that he would not be taking any money from the Free State.

Related Link: http://www.rsf.ie
author by Donnchadhpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 00:54Report this post to the editors

Dan Keating is a living inspiration to all republicans. And at 104 years of age his political analysis is just as keen as when he first rejected British rule updated and reformed as puppet partitionist parliaments. Indeed, he is 100% correct, the GFA is just a joke. Sadly, the joke is on the Irish people - again.

author by Red incpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 01:48Report this post to the editors

Just because he is old, it does not make him wise or correct.

Making a stand is one thing. Not taking your pension is another. As these are non-refundable does him hand them over the RSF? or does he not collect them at all?

People like him are what have held us back as a people.

author by amhrasach gud'dhpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 08:17Report this post to the editors

Corruption, co-option, greed, self-interest, cowardice, and weakness of will have claimed too much of this country as victims and put two illegitimate governments in charge of one ravaged nation, but it is the principles of men such as Dan Keating which have kept the Republic, as proclaimed in 1916, alive.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 18:02Report this post to the editors

Isnt it amazing how Sticky PSF supporters like RED let themselves down every time they open their mouths. Its no wonder Gerry and Martin have to keep such a tight rein on them. Lets just say that men like Dan Keating never could buy holiday homes out of their service to the Republic.

author by Sharon - Individualpublication date Fri Jun 30, 2006 21:47Report this post to the editors

Regarding 'Red's' comments re payments :

On April 3rd last year (2005) , 'The Sunday Business Post' newspaper revealed that , in 2003 , the following sums of taxpayers money was handed over to the political parties in Leinster House :

Fianna Fail - €87,500 a week .
Fine Gael - €60,416 a week .
Labour - €37,500 a week .
Greens - €12,854 a week .
Provo Sinn Fein - €14,166 a week .
(Progressive Democrats and others not listed) .
You could buy a lot of suits and fancy shirts with that money !
That was three years ago - I dare say the amounts have increased since then . Perhaps to the amount where one could lodge a down-payment for a holiday home...
Those people are living beyond our means .

Sharon .

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by bpmurphpublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:34Report this post to the editors

I just want to note my admiration for Dan Keating - someone who has held dear to his ideals and refuses to sell them short. I was amazed to hear him speak to Joe Duffy recently and delighted to hear him being well able for Duffy who acted disgracefully cause he did not like the answers he was getting from Dan. The principles that Dan holds true to are admirable even though I might not agreed with him fully, but in todays disposable society it is great to hear someone who at 104 has not sold out their beliefs

author by anti free statepublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 03:35Report this post to the editors

what was that droning eejit saying to Dan . Can you give us a summary ?

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