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22/09/2021

Death of veteran Derry republican Sean Keenan to be marked this weekend

A Republican Sinn Fein commemoration marking the 26th anniversary of passing of renowned Derry republican Sean Keenan will take place in the Bogside this weekend.

Mr Keenan who died on March 3, 1993 was interned without trial on three occasions, between 1940-45, 1957-1961 and 1971-1972. He served a total of 15 years in prison despite never having been convicted of any charge.

His father Seamus Keenan, a  Quartermaster of the Derry City Battalion of the IRA died shortly after his release from prison in 1942.

In March 1972, a month before his final release he was released from Long Kesh internment camp to attend the funeral of his son Colm, an IRA Volunteer who was shot dead by the British Army whilst on active service with his comrade Volunteer Eugene McGillen.

Whilst interned, Sean Keenan, a fluent Gaelic speaker, organised and conducted choirs with his fellow prisoners. He was also a Gaelic footballer who later became a referee.

Mr Keenan’s wife Nancy, a member of Cumann na mBann who was interned in Armagh jail in the 1940s, died long before her time in 1970.

Sean Keenan was also chairman of the Derry Citizens Defence Association between July and October, 1969 and played a pivotal role in the events that led to the creation of Free Derry.

Mr Keenan became part of the Provisional movement in 1970 after the IRA split and joined the ranks of Republican Sinn Fein in 1986 after Sinn Fein ended their abstentionist policy against taking seats in Leinster House.

In the late 1980s he was made an Honorary Vice President for life of Republican Sinn Fein. Just two weeks before his death, Sean Keenan was present in the Guildhall when his native Derry won the Glor na Gael competition-a fact he was very proud of.

The annual Sean Keenan Commemoration will take place this Sunday, March 3 at 3pm at the memorial to the Derry republican at Fahan Street.

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