Justin Keating

Justin Keating (7 January 1930 – 31 December 2009) was an Irish Labour Party politician, broadcaster, journalist, lecturer and veterinary surgeon.[1] In later life he was president of the Humanist Association of Ireland.

Justin Keating
Minister for Industry and Commerce
In office
March 1973  July 1977
TaoiseachLiam Cosgrave
Preceded byPatrick Lalor
Succeeded byDesmond O'Malley
Member of the European Parliament
In office
February 1984  June 1984
In office
January 1973  February 1973
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1969  June 1977
ConstituencyDublin County North
In office
October 1977  July 1981
ConstituencyAgricultural Panel
Personal details
Born(1930-01-07)7 January 1930
Dublin, Ireland
Died31 December 2009(2009-12-31) (aged 79)
Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare, Ireland
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)1. Loretta Wine
2. Barbara Hussey
Alma materUniversity College Dublin
University of London

Keating was twice elected to Dáil Éireann and served in Liam Cosgrave's cabinet as Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1973 to 1977. He also gained election to Seanad Éireann and was a Member of the European Parliament. He was considered part of a "new wave" of politicians at the time of his entry to the Dáil.[1][2]

Early life

He was born in Dublin in 1930, a son of the noted painter Seán Keating.[2] Keating was educated at Sandford Park School, and then at University College Dublin (UCD) and the University of London. He became a lecturer in anatomy at the UCD veterinary college from 1955 until 1960 and was senior lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin from 1960 until 1965. He was RTÉ's head of agricultural programmes for two years before returning to Trinity College in 1967.[2] While at RTÉ, he scripted and presented Telefís Feirme, a series for the agricultural community,[2] for which he won a Jacob's Award in 1966.[1]

Political career

In the 1950s and 1960s Keating was a member of the Communist Irish Workers' Party. Keating was first elected to the Dáil as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin County North constituency at the 1969 general election.[3] From 1973 to 1977 he served in the National Coalition government under Liam Cosgrave as Minister for Industry and Commerce.[4] In 1973 he was appointed a Member of the European Parliament from the Oireachtas, serving on the short-lived first delegation.

During 1975 Keating introduced the first substantial legislation for the development of Ireland's oil and gas. The legislation was modelled on international best practice and intended to ensure the Irish people would gain substantial benefit from their own oil and gas. Under Keating's legislation the state could by right acquire a 50% stake in any viable oil and gas reserves discovered. Production royalties of between 8% and 16% with corporation tax of 50% would accrue to the state. The legislation specified that energy companies would begin drilling within three years of the date of the issue of an exploration license.

He lost his Dáil seat at the 1977 general election, but was subsequently elected to Seanad Éireann on the Agricultural Panel, serving there until 1981.[2] He briefly served again in the European Parliament from February to June 1984 when he replaced Séamus Pattison.

Later life and death

In the aftermath of President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "World Without Zionism" speech in 2005, Keating published an op-ed in The Dubliner Magazine, expressing his views on Israel.[5] The article starts by claiming that "the Zionists have absolutely no right in what they call Israel". Keating then proceeds to explain why he thinks Israel has no right to exist, claiming that the Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars.

Keating died on 31 December 2009, one week before his eightieth birthday.[1] Tributes came from the leaders of the Labour Party and Fine Gael at the time of his death, Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny,[1] as well as former Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach John Bruton.[2]


  1. "Former Labour Party Minister dies aged 79". RTÉ News. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. In 1942 he was witness to and profoundly affected by the IRA assassination of Rathfarnham neighbour and friend Detective Sergeant Denis O'Brien who was subsequently executed largely on the basis of Keating's testimony. "Ex-Labour minister Keating dies". The Irish Times. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  3. "Justin Keating". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  4. "Justin Keating". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  5. "Anti-Israel article angers Irish leaders". European Jewish Press. 6 December 2005. Archived from the original on 25 November 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
New constituency Labour Party Teachta Dála for Dublin County North
Succeeded by
Constituency reduced by 1 seat
Political offices
Preceded by
Patrick Lalor
Minister for Industry and Commerce
Succeeded by
Desmond O'Malley
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