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Kevin Keating 1949 - 2020: An Appreciation

By D.R.O’Connor Lysaght

5 July 2020

Kevin Keating came late to Bolshevik-Leninism. His political travels began in the Labour Party Young Socialists, but the party turned to the right after the Arms Trial in 1970 and he went with the YS majority in leaving. After some consideration, he joined the Provisional Republican Movement. (It is worth noting that, of those Young Socialists who joined one or other of the two large Republican rivals, the workers joined the Provos, the petty bourgeois, the Officials.)

He found that the militancy of this body could not compensate for its political narrowness, that it failed to provide answers to many questions in Ireland and on a wider stage. Independently of the movement, he read dedicatedly. In 1978, he joined the Irish Section of the Fourth International. He had found his political home and he would not leave for the rest of his life.

His political odyssey had proved to be his political strength. It provided him with the experience to analyse developing situations far more accurately than many who jumped into revolutionary politics without his grounding.

It was reinforced further by his long time association with Anne Conway, his partner for three decades and a half, whose earlier political experience complemented his own. This combination made them a force greater than the sum of their talents.

Outside politics, Kevin enjoyed painting and playing traditional music and was talented in both. He was also, insofar as the term has any meaning, a truly good person, a loyal comrade and a good friend.

His death on 8 May followed some fourteen months of painful illness.

To Anne and his daughters, Kate and Grainne, we send our condolences, knowing that we will join them in our happy memories of this man.

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