Charismatic leader McKeever 'hadn't an arrogant bone in his body'


The late adventurer Ian McKeever had found his purpose in life in inspiring young people “to get the best from themselves”, Mr McKeever’s funeral Mass in Roundwood heard at the weekend.

Mr McKeever (42) was killed by lightning on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania earlier this month as he led a group of about 20 amateur climbers including his fiancee, Anna O’Loughlin. Ms O’Loughlin, who was also injured in the lightning strike, attended the funeral on crutches.

Tributes from friends, family, colleagues and clergy focused on Mr McKeever’s qualities of leadership, communication skills, and his extensive work for charities and young people. Addressing the congregation in St Laurence O’Toole Church, Roundwood, parish priest of Greystones and Kilquade Fr Liam Belton said Ireland had lost “a charismatic leader”. Fr Belton told the chief mourners, Mr McKeever’s father Neil, mother Aedeen, sister Denise and Ms O’Loughlin, that he had shown “very great enthusiasm for everything he approached”.

Fr Belton also welcomed the Taoiseach’s aide de camp, Comdt Michael Treacy.

A group of friends including Dave and Rob Burke, Jason Stubbs and Brenda Bourke joined a choir which opened the ceremony with a hymn.

Denise McKeever said she and her “big brother” would always turn to one another in moments of joy and crisis. She said she was always proud to call him her brother. Three eulogies were read during the ceremony. Dave Burke said he had known Mr McKeever since they were children at school, describing the adventurer as “fantastic” and “heroic”. He said Mr McKeever was “bright and tough” but had humility and “did not have an arrogant bone in his body”.

A second eulogy, read by Eugene Grey, spoke of Mr McKeever’s innate talent for communication. Gordon Mac an Bhaird of the Kilimanjaro Achievers charity said Mr McKeever had the attitude that “one day your life will flash before you, and you should make sure it is worth watching”.