Columnist Keane laid to rest

The late journalist Terry keane was known for her cordial, colourful and controversial persona, mourners at her funeral heard today.

The 68-year-old, who died on Saturday, worked as a fashion writer and gossip columnist but shot to fame after publicly revealing her 27-year affair with former Taoiseach Charles Haughey in 1999.

Alluding to that relationship celebrant Fr Noel Barber said the public disclosure transformed Ms Keane from columnist to pariah.

Friends, former colleagues and family including son-in-law celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin, who recited a eulogy, attended the service at St Joseph’s Church in Glasthule, south Co Dublin.

“She became in due course the cordial, colourful and controversial persona and that aspect of her life has been trundled in obsessive detail,” Fr Barber said.

“But in all such persona, the real person can remain illusive.

“We all make wrong calls from time to time. It is when such errors and wrong calls are in the public stare … and with Terry, a serious error of judgment turned a social columnist into a pariah.

“And in dealing with that, Terry fortunately had the steadfast support of family and friends.”

Born Ann Therese O’Donnell in Surrey 1939, Ms Keane spent time in Ireland as a child and returned to study medicine in Trinity College Dublin.

In the early 1960s she married barrister Ronan Keane who went on to become Chief Justice.

The couple had three children but later separated.

While she had hinted in her Sunday Independent column – The Keane Edge – of a relationship with a political figure, referring to him as Sweetie, it was on RTÉ’s 'Late Late Show' in 1999 she disclosed it was Mr Haughey.

Seven years later she appeared on the 'Late Late Show' again and claimed to have deeply regretted the decision to publicly reveal the affair.

Today her son-in-law Mr Gavin delivered a moving tribute to her, opening the eulogy with a comment from the late journalist Nuala O’Faolain.

“She was described by another recently departed Irish journalist Nuala O’Faolain as a beautiful, exotic dangerous flower arriving in a very dour, grey Dublin,” he said.

He talked of her warmth and love for her family, her insatiable desire to keep up with the news and her appetite for socialising.

“Men loved her, women loved her. With men it was obvious – she was charming, beautiful and witty. Women loved her because she was so feminine.

“But I think she had an extraordinary effect on ordinary Irish women. They loved the fact that she lived the life that they could only dream of.”

Ms Keane is survived by her children Jane, Madeleine, Justine and grandchildren.

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