Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Gerry Adams extends condolences after the death of Sean Keenan

31 July, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today expressed his deep sadness at the death of his friend and former Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor Sean Keenan. Sean died this mroning after a long battle with cancer.

Mr. Adams said:

"Sean Keenan came from a prominent Republican family in Derry City. His father, also Sean, was a renowned republican activist in the city. He had the distinction of having spent 15 years in prison as an internee in the 30's, the 40's, the 50's and the 1970's. Sean senior was also a widely respected leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960's and was Chair of the Derry Citizens Defence Association.

"Sean's mother Nancy was equally well known, a member of Cumann na mBan who had been interned in the early 1940's. His brother Colm was shot dead by the British in 1972.

"Sean was a republican activist in Derry before moving to Belfast. He was elected to Belfast City Council in 1985. He was a gifted elected representative and worked hard and diligently on behalf of the people of West Belfast. He was particularly active around the housing issue and played a key role in the various housing campaigns which succeeded in achieving the demolition of Unity Flats, Divis Flats, Moyard, Turf Lodge and Springhill. Thousands of people live today in better housing because of Sean's conscientious efforts on their behalf.

"Sean was also a political activist and representative who was targeted many times by loyalist death squads and the RUC and British Army. In 1984 he was travelling with me in Belfast City Centre when a loyalist gang attacked us. Sean was very seriously wounded. Several years later Sean's home was attacked and he was shot again.

"Throughout it all and including his long battle against cancer Sean never lost his sense of humour or his commitment and dedication to republicanism.

"It was through the efforts of Sean and the other Sinn Féin Councillors elected in the 1980's and 90's that much of the bigotry and sectarianism in Belfast City Hall was successfully challenged.

"It was with great sadness that I heard the news this morning that Sean had passed away.

"I would extend my deepest condolences and those of republicans throughout Belfast and beyond to Sean's partner Una and her family, his three children Colm, Nuala and Cillian and their mother Marian. I measc laochra na nGael a raibh sé."ENDS

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