DUBLIN, Ireland – Dan Keating, an IRA member and the last surviving veteran of Ireland's 1919-21 war of independence from Britain, has died, his nursing home and fringe political party said. He was 105....I think I need to go listen to "House of Orange" a few times...
Keating spent his entire adult life committed to the most hard-line branch of Irish republicanism on offer. He said Ireland should never be at peace until the border dividing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – both states he considered illegitimate – was eliminated and the island united under one government.
In 1970, he switched his allegiance from the "Official" IRA to a new, Northern Ireland-based faction called the Provisional IRA that spent 27 years trying to overthrow the British territory.
When the Provisionals called a 1997 cease-fire and supported Sinn Fein politicians' push for a negotiated settlement, he switched support to a breakaway faction, Republican Sinn Fein, that opposed compromise and continued bombings. He became honorary patron of the fringe party in 2004.
Republican Sinn Fein president Ruairi O Bradaigh said Keating was committed to the cause "to the very day of his death and an inspiration to all true republicans.''
Keating opposed the existence of the Republic of Ireland so much that he refused to accept the state's old-age pension. In 2002 he also refused a $3,500 award from President Mary McAleese that is offered to all Irish citizens who reach age 100; Keating argued that she wasn't the real president of Ireland.
Friday, October 05, 2007