29 January 2004 Edition
It was with great sadness that the South Tyrone/North Monaghan area learned of the death of Kieran Canavan (71).
Kieran was born in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, in October 1932. He was a true republican and devoted much of his early adulthood to the fight for Irish freedom. He joined Saor Uladh in the 1950s and eventually took refuge in North Monaghan. He was involved in many operations carried out on and around the border. As a result, he spent nine months interned in the Curragh, without charge or trial. He would later impress upon his children the importance of the cause of Irish freedom.
Kieran gave unwavering support to Sinn Féin, particularly at the height of the conflict and always hoped to see the Ireland of his dreams become a reality.
He also found time to participate in the other passion of his life, Gaelic football. He was a skilled and talented player and a great addition to any team he joined. He is still remembered for his strength and speed on the pitch and his enthusiasm for the game.
Like so many young Irishmen of the time, Kieran emigrated to the United States in 1959. It was there he met and married his wife Rose (née McAllister), from Crossmaglen, County Armagh. He became a member of the carpenters' union and retired in 1990 after being diagnosed with cancer.
Together, Kieran and Rose had six children, two of whom died tragically (Dermot, 1985 and Seán, 2001). During his last few years, he had the joy of seeing all of his children married and welcoming the arrival of his six grandchildren. He also had the thrill of seeing Tyrone become the All-Ireland champions, and having the Sam McGuire Cup brought to his bedside by his nephews, Peter and Paschal Canavan, just weeks before he died.
He lost his 14-year battle with lung cancer and leukaemia on 27 December last, whilst being cared for by his wife and family. The funeral mass took place on December 31 and was followed by a burial with full military honours in Holy Road Cemetery, in Westbury, New York. The eulogy at the Funeral Mass was given by Liam Kelly and the Guard of Honour was comprised of former colleagues from Saor Uladh and the Republican Movement.
He is survived by his wife Rose and his children Ciarán, Kathleen, Teresa and Celine. Also mourning his loss are his grandchildren Patrick, Mark, Kathleen-Rose, Aidan, John-Thomas and Liam. Remembered also by his sisters Maureen, Ita, Celine, Eileen, Betty and Carmel, as well as many nieces and nephews. He will be sorely missed.
Clan na Gael and the Republican Movement wish to express their condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.