It was with great regret that I learned that life long Republican and Tan War veteran Dan Keating has passed away.
Dan Keating was 14 years old and working in Tralee as an apprentice to the bar and grocery trade when the 1916 Rising broke out in Dublin. Following on from the execution of the leaders of the rebellion there was a major shift in public opinion in favour of those seeking independence from England.
In Kerry support for Sinn Fein rose above 90%. Towards the end of that year Dan had joined Fíanna Éireann - the youth wing of the Irish Republican Army. By 1919, having purchased his own rifle for £1 from a profiteering British soldier at the local barracks, Dan became a fully fledged member of the Farmer's Bridge (Boherbee B) Company of the local IRA.
Very soon, having been wrongfully accused of involvement in the shooting of Denny O'Loughlin in Knightly's public house in Tralee, he was on the run, and so began his full time service as an active participant in the War of Independence.
While many viewed the War of Independence (Tan War) as a success Dan didn't. His refusal to accept an IRA Veterans' Pension is a testament to his feelings on the matter. As he says, "Sure we achieved nothing. The British still hold part of our country".
Recalling the actions of the Free Staters in the Civil war he remembers the brutality
"They were far worse than the Black and Tans" asserts Dan. "They murdered nineteen republican prisoners at Ballyseedy Cross, Countess's Bridge and elsewhere in Kerry in three days. The Tans never did anything as bad as that",
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Dan was a life long Republican and although he shared different politics from Sinn Féin all Republicans should lift their hat to a man who gave his life for the struggle.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam