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Sir John Keane, 5th Baronet: Wikis


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Sir John Keane, 5th Baronet (3 June 1873 – 30 January 1956), was an Irish barrister and politician. He was educated at Clifton College and Royal Military Academy Woolwich. He succeeded his father as 5th Baronet in 1892. He was a senator in the upper house of the Irish parliament. He was also a director of the Bank of Ireland. His home in Cappoquin was burned in reprisal for his being a senator.


Senate career

  • From 11 December 1922 he was a Senator in the First Irish Free State Senate (Seanad Éireann), and served a term of 12 years. He was nominated by the President in the lower house (Dáil Éireann) on 6 December 1922. The First Seanad was abolished in 1936 and its last session was on 19 May in that year.
  • From 7 September 1938 to 14 July 1943 he was a Senator in the Third Seanad, nominated by the Taoiseach.
  • From 8 September 1943 to 5 July 1944 he was a Senator in the Fourth Seanad, nominated by the Taoiseach.

Shannon electrification scheme

In 1925 he was a major opponent of the Shannon electrification scheme, describing it as "the poisonous virus of nationalisation".

Censorship of publications

In 1942 he was involved in the first occasion on which the Irish Senate censored itself. On 18 November 1942 Sir John Keane moved in the Seanad: "That, in the opinion of Seanad Éireann, the Censorship of Publications Board appointed by the Minister for Justice under the Censorship of Publications Act, 1929, has ceased to retain public confidence, and that steps should be taken by the Minister to reconstitute the board." and sparked four days of fierce debate, carrying over to 2, 3, and concluding on 9 December 1942.

He quoted extensively from one book The Tailor and Ansty by Eric Cross, which was banned in Ireland soon after its first publication in that year. The Editor of Debates excluded the quotation from the Official Report; the entry states only: "The Senator quoted from the book".

At the end of the debate and much discussion in the public press, his point made, Sir John Keane sought leave to withdraw the motion. The question “That leave be given by the Seanad to withdraw the motion, item No. 2, on the Order Paper” was put and negatived. The question on the main motion was then duly put and declared negatived. However Senators claimed for a division, and the motion was defeated: Tá (for) 2 votes - Sir John Keane and Joseph Johnston - Nil (against) 34 votes.

National Portrait Gallery

The UK's National Portrait Gallery includes three photographic portraits of Sir John Keane taken by Bassano on 30 March 1920.


Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Francis Keane
(of Cappoquin)
Succeeded by
Richard Michael Keane


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