Claim to Notoriety:
One of the main conduits of weapons for the Irish Republican Army in the 1970s and led the IRA bombing campaign in England. Later played a substantial role in the IRAs transition to a political organization in the 1990s. According to An Phoblacht, the Siin Fein weekly, "Tony Blair's Chief of Staff at 10 Downing Street during the war years described Brian Keenan as 'the single biggest threat to the British state.'"
To pressure the British military to withdraw from Northern Ireland in the last quarter of the 20th century through terrorist acts and other strategies.
Keenan was born in 1942 in Londonderry County in Northern Ireland to a family unconnected to Irish nationalism. Indeed, his father was a decorated Royal Air Force member. Keenan married early; by 27 he had six children. He developed the sense of class consciousness that would propel him to militancy while working as a television repairman in England in the 1960s, which were also a period of multi-faceted conflict between Republican and Loyalists in Northern Ireland. Keenan became an active member of the IRA in this period. Keenan died of cancer on May 21, 2008.
Keenan and the IRA:
Keenan joined the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the late 1960s, when it split from the Official IRA (which renounced violence) to pursue violent tactics. He was an influential member from the start, and played a strategic role organizing bombings in Belfast and later in England. He was also the personal link between the IRA and Libyan head Muammar Qaddafi. He was a member of the influential IRA Army Council, a secret council that made decisions about declaring cease-fires or ending them.
In the late 1990s he served as the IRA representative in secret talks that were followed by IRA disarmament four years later.
Keenan on strategy:
In the weeks before his death, the Sinn Fein weekly newspaper published a series of in-depth interviews with Keenan. In the last installment, Keenan discusses the role of weapons and strategy in producing the IRA's goals:[blockquote shade="yes"]We were on the march forward and no one could stop us. That is the only way to fight a war. There cannot be self-doubt, half-measures or holding back. The Army’s attitude was we could win the war. The Army leadership began to think more strategically and politically. It was out of this thinking that, by 1973, the ‘Long War Strategy’ took shape.