Mourners gather for former ‘Sunday Press’ editor’s funeral

Congregation at Sandyford church told Michael Keane had long association with parish

The funeral Mass has taken place in south Dublin of the former editor of the Sunday Press and public relations consultant Michael Keane.

A large number of former Irish Press Group personnel – including the current chairman of the group, Dr Eamon de Valera – attended the Requiem Mass in the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, at Balally, Sandyford, where Mr Keane was a regular reader.

Parish priest Mons Dermot Lane told mourners Mr Keane used to recount a story "against himself". The story involved Mr Keane's welcome to the White House by then US president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, followed a few weeks later by his introduction to Prince Charles at the British Embassy in Dublin.

A short time after that Mr Keane had been introduced to a “Miss Kelly” in a Dublin dole office when the Irish Press titles ceased publication, said Mons Lane. “He said of the three, Miss Kelly was much more useful to him,” said Mons Lane.

Mr Keane had a distinguished and important career in journalism having been the Sunday Press northern editor in Belfast and later the editor, a position he held for eight years.

After the group ceased publishing newspapers, Mr Keane joined FleishmanHillard Saunders, an international communications company, where be became a director. Almost a decade later in 2006, he co-founded communications company Insight Consultants.

Mr Keane also “substantially contributed to the life of Balally parish” Mons Lane said.

He recalled Mr Keane had been involved in a social awareness group, a drugs awareness group, had undertaken a bereavement counselling course to be able to engage more fully and had been a member of the parish visiting committee, and “ran the parish’s Bethany Group for 20 years”.

Mr Keane’s immense social network was also recalled by his son Simon who in a eulogy said all of those present who knew his father held their own special and personal memories of the man.

Mr Keane’s mobile phone was among the offertory gifts placed on a table before the alter during the ceremony.

Other gifts were a copy of the Sunday Press and a copy of the recently published book The Press Gang written by former Irish Press journalists, to which Mr Keane had contributed a chapter. The final offertory gift was a Co Kildare GAA jersey reflecting both Mr Keane's origins in Athy, Co Kildare, and his attachment to the sport.

Mr Keane suffered a heart attack four weeks ago had remained in ill health until he passed away on Saturday.

The chief mourners were Mr Keane's wife Jenny and children Aoife, Michael John and Simon.

Attendees

Among those who came to pay their respects were former Press Ombudsman John Horgan; former editor of The Irish Times Geraldine Kennedy; broadcaster Vincent Browne; director of the MacGill Summer School Joe Mullholland; Donal O' Kelly formerly of RTÉ; Stephen Collins and Frances O'Rourke of The Irish Times as well as former journalists at the paper Carol Coulter, Colm Boland, Deaglán De Bréadún, Conor O'Cleary and Seamus Martin, among others.

Former Sunday Press colleague Emmanuel Kehoe attended as did Liam Collins, Fergus Black and Liam Mulcahy of the Irish Independent.

Paddy Judge, formerly of Leinster House, and the former TD Thomas ‘GV’ Wright attended while Rhona Blake represented FleishmanHilliard.

Michael Parker who set up Insight Consultants with Mr Keane described him as “a rock”. He said Mr Keane was known to many people but few knew the levels of his dedication to his family and his church.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist

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