THE death has taken place of Claremorris native, Fr Michael Keane. He was known countrywide as the founder of the Knock Marriage Bureau which first saw the light of day over 40 years ago.
A man of strongly held views, he clashed with authority on a number of occasions. In the mid-1970s, while serving as a curate in Carnacon, he had a famous “run-in” with the then Archbishop of Tuam, Rev Dr Joe Cunnane. He left the Archdiocese of Tuam soon afterwards and moved to Dublin.
For many years, he was very much on the ‘outside’ and was not accorded pastoral duties in any parish in the country. However, around the year 2000, he became reconciled with the Tuam Archdiocese and returned to his home town of Claremorris where he helped out on a regular basis and also did ‘relief’ when needed to cover at certain times.
Fr Michael was widely respected in the community and had a tremendous interest in the history of the Irish nation. He was a firm believer in the sovereignty of the country and detested the idea of rule from abroad. He fought his corner with passion and enthusiasm and no one was in any doubt where they stood with Fr Michael Keane.
Up until recent weeks, Fr Michael could be seen out and about around Claremorris, always walking tall and elegantly, stopping to chat to whoever wished to engage in banter or debate. He was old stock in every sense of the word, a man of literature who was never in the slightest afraid to take a stand.
Archbishop Michael Neary said it was with great sadness that he heard of the death of Father Michael Keane.
“I express my sincere condolences to his family, fellow priests, friends, past-parishioners and all who benefited from his dedicated ministry and who mourn his passing. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
Removal took place from Gilligan’s Funeral Home to St Colman’s Church last night (Monday) and burial will take place in Ballinasmalla cemetery today following concelebrated Requiem Mass at 12 noon in Claremorris. Fr Michael is survived by his nephews and nieces, sister-in-law Ita, relatives and friends.