Death Of Peace People Founder Ciaran McKeown

When people who were your contemporaries when you were young and fit start to pop off, then it is time to get worried. I knew Ciaran McKeown quite well when we were both students at QUB, he the president of the Students’ Union and me a first year undergraduate who did some work for the university paper Gown.

So his death yesterday is a reminder of one’s own mortality. He is of course best known for his part in the creation in 1976 of the Peace People along with Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty vision but even back then it was clear that the naivete and contradictions inherent in the Peace People, essentially that only the IRA was to blame for the violence, would be the movement’s undoing.

Ciaran had left The Irish Press to start the Peace People so when the movement finally disintegrated he had no job and was essentially unemployable. The last time I saw him was when, as Northern Editor of The Irish Times, I hired him to transcribe the tape recording of Ian Paisley’s famous Kincora press conference at the Martyr’s Memorial church in east Belfast.

By chance I recently came across the clip of a news broadcast dated from August 1969 showing Ciaran urging the Irish government to invade the North in the wake of Loyalist attacks on Nationalist areas. What crazy days they were:

7 responses to “Death Of Peace People Founder Ciaran McKeown

  1. Great article to refresh our memories. Thanks.

  2. Remember him well – quietly spoken but determined

  3. Pingback: Death Of Peace People Founder Ciaran McKeown | The Broken Elbow – seachranaidhe1

  4. Death is only an end for those who believe the crap about there being something after this. Enjoy every moment and every person who are in your life. Enjoy today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

    Jack Smith – Seattle


  5. It seems axiomatic for many ‘liberals’ that Western states and their allies simply can’t commit acts of violence or terror, even whey they are committing such acts.
    They ‘engage, intervene, conduct operations, and deploy.’
    Only retail terror is terror.
    The wholesale version is immune from respectable criticism.

  6. I always thought he had political ambitions, obviously not. ‘The Kitson Experiment’ by Roger Flight included an excellent chapter on the ‘Peace People’

  7. Thats Foligot not Flight!

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