11 December 2008 Edition
Brian Keenan's collected interviews in new booklet
THE Roddy McCorley Club was packed on Wednesday 3 December for the launch of the booklet, Brian Keenan – A Republican Legend.
Brian, who died in May, was one of the IRA’s leading activists over four decades of struggle. He was once described by Jonathan Powell, British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff, as “the single biggest threat to the British state”.
Before his death, Brian gave a series of interviews to Jim Gibney which were published in An Phoblacht. The booklet contains these as well as the orations given at his funeral in south Armagh and Belfast.
Wednesday’s launch was attended by Brian’s wife, Chrissie, and their family. West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann chaired the evening’s event and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and leading south Armagh republican Seán Hughes, who gave the orations in May, both spoke about the man they had known and respected.
Seán Hughes described Brian as:
“The ordinary man from a working-class background; the family man; the trade union activist; the political activist; the exceptional IRA Volunteer; a military and political strategist – and a true friend and comrade to each and every one of us.”
Seán described the interviews as “typical Brian”. He said: “You can sense the urgency and intensity throughout his remarks. You can hear Brian speaking with great passion about the struggle and feel the love that he had for his country and especially for his comrades in the Army.”
Describing Brian as “one of the most influential and charismatic republicans of modern times”, Seán Hughes added:
“All of us have been inspired or motivated by someone we knew or someone we read about. Something lit a spark in each of us to help make us what we are. I believe this book and Brian’s life and struggle will inspire Irish republicans as we seek to advance and achieve the goals for which Brian lived – a free, independent and united Ireland.”
Seán Keenan, Brian’s son addresses the packed venue